Where rapid prototyping might take you [Technical.ly Podcast] - Technical.ly DC


Mar. 10, 2015 11:26 am

Where rapid prototyping might take you [Technical.ly Podcast]

In this month's Technical.ly Podcast, we discuss design thinking and the growing phenomenon of rapid prototyping.

Rapid prototyping doesn't have to be pretty.

(Photo by Flickr user Gunnar Bothner-By, used under a Creative Commons license)

This month’s Technical.ly Podcast on design thinking escalated fast; we got our lead reporter in Brooklyn, Brady Dale, to perform some rapid prototyping on the mic.

First, we heard from Natalie Nixon, who runs an MBA program at Philadelphia University focused on design thinking. For her, it’s everything from how food trucks and doughnuts market themselves to efforts made by healthcare companies to help potential customers navigate the Affordable Care Act.

“People are rethinking, on a range of scales of businesses, how to connect” with customers, she said.

One design process that is seeping into popular consciousness is prototyping, and particularly rapid prototyping. “A prototype should be a rough draft, ugly mockup,” Nixon said. “It does not have to be perfect and gilded in gold. Pop-up shops are a great way to prototype services and experiences.”

As Google X cofounder Tom Chi put it during Fosterly’s Collaborate conference earlier this year, “Doing is the best type of thinking. … Thinking is the worst way to think.” That’s why he’s encouraging companies to spend less time planning and more time fiddling with a prototype — a lesson he learned from his experience with the Google Glass.

But rapid prototyping can be extended to more or less any aspect of life.

Hear Dale try it out: “[Some coffee shops] have those signs on the table like, no laptop use between 1:17 and 4:19 p.m.,” he said. “There’s this tension between coffee shop owners who want to sell coffee and people who go to them who want to go work out in public.”

His solution: “If they just adjusted their way of thinking about their product,” Dale said. “There’s a way that this can be solved where everyone doesn’t feel weird anymore.”

  • Listen below, download the episode or subscribe to the Technical.ly Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.


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