Prototyping is not MVP: concepts that will make a difference in your proof of concept

protótipo action labs

From pretotype to prototype, how to test innovation out. 

In the 90’s there was a technological race for Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) – which resulted in today’s smartphones. While big companies focused on planners, the innovator and entrepreneur, Jeff Hawkins, who came from a family of inventors, visualized something that would end up becoming Palm Pilot.    

To validate his creation, Jeff did not have money to invest in a prototype, which would depend on engineers and time. The solution he found was to test the utility of the product himself, but how could he do it? With a simple wood block, he imagined the size of the gadget. And with papers attached to the surface of the block, he simulated the screens that would be used in each occasion. If someone asked for a meeting, for example, he would take the block and touch it to simulate checking his schedule and entering a notification reminder.

What Jeff Hawkins had at hand was a pretotype, and not a prototype. With this equipment, he knew exactly how he could carry, handle and use the four main features of the gadget (address list, calendar, memorizer and task list). With this simple experiment, he was convinced that he could now go to prototyping because his suppositions about size and function were validated.

Jeff then launched his product and today he is recognized as the co-founder of the great innovation company called Palm Pilot, and has opened the gates for what would 20 years later turn into smartphones.

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