Fast Prototyping - The Key To Innovation

Posted by Michael Lindberg on Nov 16, 2017 8:20:16 AM

Innovation ideas


The Key To Innovation


'Failure is not an option'


These words have been attributed to Gene Kranz, the Apollo 13 Flight Director, when confronted with the situation onboard Apollo 13 after an explosion occurred that ended any hope of a lunar landing and threatened the lives of the crew. In fact, he didn’t utter these words, but they summarize very well the sentiment when a few good men at Mission Control were thinking very hard to find a way to bring the three astronauts safely back to earth.


That makes sense. When three lives are at stake failure is not an option. However, in business you are actually well advised to go for failure. This may sound crazy, but things are moving so fast that you don’t have time for perfection – or in the words of Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”

Aim & Fire

He’s right, with technology and business cycles changing rapidly, you need to be fast - and hit the right target. And obviously, the faster you shoot the less time you have to aim, so you need to send off multiple shots – and accept that some miss their target.


How do you find a way to do something that turns the world upside down, something that is truly unique? Use this simple tool that forces you to think outside the box by making you look at your offerings from seven different perspectives: 

  • Eliminate: Remove it altogether
  • Reduce: Keep doing it, but to a lesser extent
  • Replace: Remove something and put something else in its place
  • Reverse: Do it the other way around
  • Combine: Add something new to what you already do
  • Exaggerate: Do much more of what you have done so far
  • Introduce: Do something entirely new

Fast Prototyping

However, ideation is not enough, it is time for fast prototyping. Fast truly is a keyword because it is OK, almost a must, to miss as long as you do it fast and early and without spending too many resources:

  1. Prototype: Create a number of prototypes that supposedly create value to your target group by relieving them from some of their pains
  2. Test: Let carefully selected people, primarily but not exclusively from your target group, evaluate your prototypes – and do it early in the process
  3. Refine: You need to receive comprehensive feedback from the test in order to identify areas that need to be improved

Don’t forget that failure is only a failure if you do not learn from it; consequently, embracing failure must be built into the very DNA of your company.


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Innovation is closely linked to providing solutions to your customers' problems, frustrations and challenges. But how do you identify these customer pain points? Our free mini eBook is concerned with detecting opportunities for growth by pinpointing the challenges your target group face, allowing you to provide the solutions they need. Please click on the link above to download your free copy.


Topics: Marketing, Change