Prototyping

Carl DiSalvo
Carl DiSalvo
SLS FEWS Fellow
Associate Professor, School of Literature, Media and Communication Co-Director, SLS Fellows Programs

How would you define this big idea?

Prototyping is the activity of creating partial models of an artifact or system. It is foundational to design and engineering. There are three features of prototyping: 1) the models are incomplete 2) the models are used for communicating or testing ideas 3) the process is iterative, lessons learned from a prototype are implemented in the next prototype, gradually increasing the fidelity of the model.

How is this big idea applied to sustainable communities?

Prototyping is important in an effort of developing products because it allows designers and engineers to progressively experiment with form, function, and experience. It is important to note that almost anything can be prototyped — this includes community services and practices, as well as technical systems.

Learn more:

IDEO workshop video on prototyping

Service prototyping

Prototyping Social Innovation

Academic article on prototyping social innovation from the perspective of Scandinavian participatory design

Big Idea: