Rapid Prototyping: the Lean Startup Way

The greatest gift the web has given to entrepreneurs is the ability to experiment, fail, and learn – early and often. In previous generations, it would take $1M and 6 months to try out a product idea – today you can do the same over a Startup Weekend for a few dollars in hosting costs.

Some may think this means that entrepreneurship has become easier. Far from it – it has become more rigorous: it is no longer enough to have a great idea, you also have to have a great way to communicate your idea, a process for learning and improving based on feedback you receive, and the agility and foresight to recognize changes and execute quickly.

To be successful in this lean startup world, the product team needs to have its ear to the ground and be able to openly and effectively communicate ideas – within the team as well as with management and others. If the communication of an idea is not effective, the idea itself is unable to generate any impact.

It’s in this context that I came across the following brilliant instructional video by Aza Raskin, former creative lead for Firefox at Mozilla and current founder of MassiveHealth, a Silicon Valley startup helping users improve their health through better data, better design, and feedback loops. In the video, Aza outlines the process he uses to communicate ideas through rapid prototypes – giving your audience a touchable, feelable demo from which they can easily extrapolate your final vision.

Most importantly, a prototype allows you to test your ideas, your assumptions, and your understanding of the problem. Often during rapid-fire tests done well, not only does the solution change but so does the nature of the problem being addressed. Watch the video! Slides also included underneath.

Rapid Prototyping with Aza Raskin from Dan Braghis on Vimeo.