Prototyping and Piloting in Innovation


Need to be careful not to rush too quickly to commercialisation. Need to do prototyping and piloting first, ie

- prototypes tested in 'lab' conditions (includes interviews, focus groups, etc) and usually involving mock representations of the offering or business

- pilots are in-market experiments (includes engaging customers with your offering, etc)

"...both are fundamentally grounded in continuous iteration and testing of hypotheses. By moving through a cycle of building, testing, and learning, innovation concepts steadily increase both strength and tangibility and decrease risk and uncertainty..."

Larry Keeley et al, 2013


Prototyping should look at more than just the offerings. It should test the entire business

"...including how you will develop the system surrounding a product or you will bring it to market delivery ready for customers. Doing this helps you to test not only the entire value proposition with customers, but also ensures you understand what is really needed to build your innovation and any implications around how it connects with other parts of your enterprise..."

Larry Keeley et al, 2013

Prototyping can be used to reduce the risk and uncertainty in innovation; additionally it helps to evolve and improve your innovation iteratively.

"...start with cheap methods - paper, digital virtualisation, and simple models - and transition towards higher fidelity and higher cost methods only as uncertainty declines and validation emerges..."

Larry Keeley et al, 2013

Some prototyping methods


i) value web (like network mapping and/or value chain - see elsewhere in this knowledge base)

"...draw a diagram of those involved in producing, delivering, purchasing, and using your innovation - include suppliers, collaborators, channel partners, customers and end users - and visualise the flows of value across the system (monetary and otherwise)..."

Larry Keeley et al, 2013

ii) process diagrams and simulation (like Flow Charts - see elsewhere in this Knowledge Bbase)

Deeper analysis processes involved in creating the innovation that can be developed as interactive simulations used with partners to test the process.


iii) product and service illustrations

Create visualisation of the offerings; focus on marketing and brand issues plus helping customers understand and evaluate what is being offered, ie overall value to them and that of individual features and functionality.

iv) feasibility analysis

Use the appropriate experts to put together a technical assessment of what is needed to bring the innovation to the market


v) experience vignette

Imagine how customers or users will interact with the innovation and how it will impact their lives, ie changes in behaviour

vi) value pitches

Develop a brand using brochures, sales collateral, promotional websites, ads, etc; link it with service and purchase experience


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