Design Thinking - Prototype Stage

This step deals with building the ideas and checking for their feasibility to arrive at the final solution. This is the step in which three things are mainly taken care of.

  • Creation of experience
  • Getting feedback
  • Iteration

The step of prototyping is the one in which the end user comes into picture. The end user is actively involved in this component of design thinking. All the feedback is taken from the customer, and based on the criticisms, suggestions, and appreciations received, the design thinkers create a better solution after iterating the process of design thinking’s first three steps, viz. Empathize, Define, and Ideate.

Prototyping requires thinkers to create tangible products, which can be small-scale models of the exact solution.

Primary Guidelines for Prototyping

  • Take the first step and start to build the prototype. Don’t procrastinate.

  • Don’t waste too much of time on building a single prototype.

  • The prototypes must be built with the end user in mind.

  • The prototype must not be a mere piece of trash; it must create an experience for the user.

  • Think of open questions that the user can shoot towards you when he experiences the prototype.

The prototype is meant solely for the end user. There is no value in the prototype in case the user does not feel comfortable and satisfied with it. Once the prototype has been developed, the next steps are as follows.

  • Take the end user through the prototype and let him/her experience it completely.

  • Throughout the experience, make the user speak about his moment-by-moment experience. This will help you, as a design thinker, to capture the minute details of the experience.

  • Try to actively observe and enthusiastically engage with the user during the experience.

  • Once the experience is over, follow up with the user who had the experience with a set of questions. It will be better if the set of questions is not impromptu and is prepared beforehand.


Let’s have a look at the DT example.

Knowledge transfer program cannot be eliminated as it is not wise to assume that all new employees will possess adequate knowhow of the technologies in the industry beforehand. It is considered to be a good HR practice to provide a knowledge transfer program to each new employee. Even if we question this, we can find that the assumption that applicants for a job will already possess all the knowledge can fire back at us.

Moreover, asking the employees to motivate other fellow employees can be unsustainable as there will be too much of reliance of employees for managing this issue. There will be no regulation over what employees might say in the name of motivation, and hence, employees can even end up inciting others to leave the company.

The best option for knowledge transfer program, at present, is to have a classroom session where many people can study at once. This will reduce the cost and streamline the knowledge transfer program making it effective as well. Moreover, team-building activities can add to the budget of the company if done outside the premises.

However, small activities outside the working hours inside the company itself can help in team-building amongst employees. This bond can help to make them stay together as a team and stay longer in the company. Motivational posters and timely appreciation can also help.

Final Prototype

So, our prototype looks like this. We can renovate a small section of the company’s premise, for example, a small section in the ground floor of a building of the company, which will have motivational posters pasted on walls. A set of team-building activities willbe conducted for a week and feedback will be taken from the employees on how they felt about it. We need to understand if they felt happy to have such an activity inside DT.

In the meantime, a single instructor led classroom session can be organized for a week for all new joinees and feedback can be taken on their level of satisfaction over the session. An exam will check their learning levels as well.

Along similar lines, many other prototypes can be created for testing.