How to prototype + Expert insights

Stefanos Zenios, Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty, shares his insights from working with other entrepreneurs as they use early stage prototypes.

Baba Shiv, Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty, talks about the advantages of creating low resolution prototypes.

Jennifer Aaker, Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty, shares tips and tools for using personas and stories to drive prototype development and testing.

Sketch it out

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Example Prototypes

See these examples of prototypes to get some inspiration these prototypes

Create your prototype

You’ve reviewed example prototypes and gained expert tips. Now it’s time to step away from the screen and start putting your ideas into action.

Select a prototyping approach and move forward with creating your own prototype. It may help you to develop a simple storyboard first and graduate into more advanced prototypes with increasing interactivity. For example, you could begin with a storyboard, then try a Mechanical Turk/Wizard of Oz, and finally a concierge.

Keep in mind, entrepreneurs with all levels of experience make prototypes for great ideas that grow into thriving businesses. If you can communicate your concept clearly, concisely, and energetically, you can make a successful prototype on any budget. Some of the most effective prototypes are created with no money at all. You can revisit the examples, tools, and resources here in the startup guide anytime you run into a challenge while developing or testing your prototype.

When you're ready to start testing, come back and review the tips in step 3.

Prototyping testing tips

Take Action

Once you have your prototype ready, get it in front of your target customers, and be ready to hear their feedback! Your prototypes will test your assumptions about your customers’ needs or behaviors. To summarize your prototype testing data, use the template included in your workbook.

What to do:

  1. Make any final adjustments to your Prototype.

  2. Determine who you want to test your prototype and how you will engage with them.

  3. If you need help, ask for introductions and referrals to potential customers from your friends, family, and co-workers.

  4. Schedule your prototype tests.

Conduct as many tests as you need to iterate your prototype based on insights you learn from your customers. Then, come back and continue with step 4 of this activity.