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A prototype is an unfinished and physical test version of a product, a service or a process and prototypes may be used in order to develop, test and communicate ideas and concepts.

It is important that the students consider how to include prototypes in the innovation process. Prototypes should be tested – preferably several times – during the innovation process and afterwards revised. This needs to be included in the students’ planning of the process. Besides this, the students should develop and test several different prototypes that are able to “compete” with each other during the test period.


Beforehand the students need to have picked out 1 to 3 concepts that they wish to test. The purpose being to incorporate the feedback from these tests into the development of the final concept. You might ask the students to present a plan of the prototype process. This is a way of making sure that the students are considering how to make the most of the method. In the following you will find some aspects that the students need to consider when planning the process of testing the prototypes:

  • Which questions do they want to get answered by testing the prototype?
  • Which stakeholders should be included in the test and further development of the prototypes?
  • Where should the prototypes be tested and how can the user situations be staged to seem as realistic and engaging as possible?
  • Number of test runs (it is recommended to do at least two test runs).
  • What is supposed to happen in between the testing of the prototypes?
  • How will the prototype tests be facilitated and documented? (video, photograhy, notes, etc.?)
  • Distribution of roles during the tests, who does what?

Worth Considering

View the methods: User test and Design a workshop.


Consider buying foamcore, markers, clay, post-its, scissors, tape (duct tape for instance), glue, cardboard, string and so on.


Carlile, P. 1997. ‘A pragmatic view of knowledge and boundaries: Boundary objects in new product development.’

Preece J, et al. 2002 ’Interaction Design – beyond human-computer interaction’. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Brandt, E 2007, ‘How tangible mock-ups support design collaboration’ Know Techn Pol, nr. 20, s. 179-192.

Brown, TIm, ‘Change by Design’, Harper Collins, 2009.

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