What is a Prototype?
A simple definition of a prototype is a model or sample of a product created to test your business idea.
Entrepreneur.com defines a prototype as:
Inc. also defines prototypes as:
working models of entrepreneurial ideas for new products. With certain types of products, prototypes are almost indispensable, and funding and building them the first test of the enterprise.Inc.
The ultimate goal of prototyping is to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). To achieve this, you may need to repeat the prototyping process as many times as possible.
When your product/service is fully ready to serve your first customers; then you have a minimum viable product.
So, what makes up a good prototype?
- When it is a good representation of the real product/service.
- When it is explicit enough to generate customers’ feedback.
- It also operates just like the main product/service.
Types of Prototypes
There are different types of prototypes peculiar to different industries.
- Functional Prototype: It represents the actual function of the product.
- Visual/Display Prototype: It shows the appearance of the product rather than its function.
- Miniature Prototype: It represents both the functional and display aspects of the product. It is a very small design to depict the actual product.
- Rapid/Throwaway Prototype: This prototype aims to show what the actual product can do. The model is no longer useful once the aim is achieved.
- Evolutionary Prototype: This prototype allows for improvement to become the actual product after getting feedback. This is to minimize waste of materials and money.
The Advantages of Prototyping
- Prototyping substantiates your product/service.
- It helps in refining the quality of specifications delivered to your customers.
- Prototyping actively involves customers in product development.
- It encourages users’ feedback. This will help you re-design your product.
- It is a quick way to discover your product flaw on time thus saves you time and money.
The Examples of prototyping include 3D printout, digital prototype, paper prototype, and scale model. When you enroll in the BizSkills Academy Ideation Course, you will learn more.