Are you moving fast enough when it comes to testing and building your ideas? The best innovators know that prototyping and piloting ideas are critical parts of the innovation process. These steps lead to new learning and insights, and result in a better final product. But too many organizations place too much pressure on the prototyping phase of a project and work for months to get the prototype “just right.” The goal of prototyping should be to seek feedback, not acceptance.
Prototyping and piloting should be focused on getting peer and customer insights and feedback so that the ultimate product is not just innovative but also functional in terms of meeting customer needs.
To help your team shift its ‘prototyping mindset,’ ask them to map out what they would need to do to get an in-development project into the hands of customers in four weeks. Set a deadline, and push your team to work toward creating a workable idea that you can test either internally or with a small external audience. Remind your team that this test product shouldn’t be perfect—it simply needs to represent your ultimate goal and provide you with a platform from which to receive feedback and more ideas. Depending on the size of your innovation pipeline, consider setting monthly or quarterly deadlines for prototypes so that new ideas are constantly being tested and improved.