Prototyping Public Services

What is prototyping?

Prototyping is a way of testing out ideas in practice at the early stages of the design cycle, quickly, cheaply and with others to see if there is demand and if they work.

Dyson is probably one of the most well known organisations that uses prototyping to test their products prior to market, the first Dyson vacuum cleaner went through over 5000 iterations before it hit the shelves.

Prototyping is an exploratory and ongoing process it can be used when designing new services or to test out components of services with residents and stakeholders. Most importantly prototyping is about exploration and ‘doing with people’ in order to develop innovations, inevitably some prototypes will fail but this should be seen as positive. Prototyping is about taking small risks at an early stage in order to maximise opportunities and prevent costly failure in the long term.

How can I find out more?

Nesta and various partners have developed a guide to prototyping public services which you can view here: http://www.nesta.org.uk/events/assets/features/prototyping_in_public_services

I have created a short online presentation to summarise prototyping using information from the guide which contains links to more information and videos as well as case studies here:

In partnership with Barnet Council and Nesta, Thinkpublic have developed a framework for prototyping that contains lots of tools here: http://www.nesta.org.uk/events/assets/documents/prototyping_framework

Thinkpublic has also produced a couple of short videos that explain the concept of prototyping in more detail you can watch them here: http://goo.gl/jpRIS

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