The Prototype Development Cycle

  From constructing your prototype to getting consumer feedback, learn how to turn your idea into a product.

We’ve finished the first stage of market validation, and now we’re going to jump into the second step: prototyping. How do you take an idea and actually create it? What does prototyping actually mean? And how can you involve customer feedback to refine your prototype? My name is Frank Pobutkiewicz, and let’s talk about prototyping.

Steps to Start Building Your Prototype

The first type of prototyping that we’re going to talk about involves creating a physical good. Now, this can take the form of a food product, a machine, a piece of furniture, clothing. When I refer to a “good,” I’m talking about anything I can physically hold in my hands.

1. Determine the Tools You Will Need

Now there are a number of tools available, so the first thing you need to do is take an inventory of what you will actually need to start to produce your product. Depending on what your product is, there are a number of tools available to help you actually create your product. Don’t think that you have to be an expert in everything to create your first prototype. Utilizing tools like maker spaces, machine shops, and commercial kitchens will drastically reduce the amount of time and money that you put in to developing your prototype. The important thing to remember is to get out there and start building.

2. Constructing Your Prototype

The important thing to remember about prototyping is that it’s not just about building. Prototyping is a cycle that you have to go around. After you’ve designed your first iteration, you go out and build it.

3. Getting Feedback from Consumers

Once you build it, you have to put it in the hands of your consumers. Get their feedback, test it out, and then redesign.

Understanding the Prototype Cycle

Prototyping is not a single shot, but should be thought of as a cycle. You want to go around the cycle as many times as possible before actually introducing your product to the marketplace. Going through this cycle will allow you to understand how to manufacture your product, exactly what features your consumers want, and how to ramp up production to deliver it to the marketplace.

About Frank Pobutkiewicz

Frank Pobutkiewicz is the owner and Managing Director of the All-American Model United Nations Programs and Whiteboard Youth Ventures, two education companies that work with high school students from around the world. Over the past six years, Frank has launched or advised the launch of multiple companies, including an international not-for-profit, a consumer electronics company, his two education ventures, and a men’s fashion company, among others.

In 2017, Frank will be publishing a book and multiple games and exercises to help teach entrepreneurship to high school students. His specific views on entrepreneurial education combine skill building, project management, marketplace validation, and rapid prototyping. In addition to teaching and advising, Frank is currently launching three direct-to-consumer product companies and documenting his progress on Medium.


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