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Prototyping as a strategic capability


Why is learning through experimentation important for future perspectives?

The world around us is complex, uncertain and in constant change. Societies and businesses are faced with wicked challenges when deciding on their future direction. We believe that successfully dealing with complexity requires future thinking, and continuous learning through experimenting.

An inspiring article on the Public website - an organization that helps startups transform the public sector - describes how you can use prototypes as a strategic tool for exploring the future. Prototyping has traditionally been seen as a method for testing functionality, but you can also use it to stimulate empathy (gain more understanding for the people involved), inspire people (visualize and communicate your vision), explore directions (and discover more possible solutions) and test ideas (and improve them together with your stakeholders). An important reason for prototyping is to 'fail quickly and cheaply'. The use of prototypes gives you the opportunity to test multiple ideas without having to invest a lot of time and money up front. 

An interesting example of an experiment described in this article is about how political advisors ‘leak' information ahead of the formal release. Just to see how a proposition is likely to be received by their audience. Sounds like a simple experiment from which we can learn a lot about our hypotheses, the behavior of people and the tone of voice of our information. Continuous iterations allow you to create variations and adjustments until you're happy with the result. We almost never get things right the first time, so we need to keep trying, experimenting, exploring, testing and thinking things through.
Looking for more inspiration? The writer of this article, Audree Fletcher, positions prototyping as the critical capability for any organization in today's world. 

Has your organization found ways to prototype? Are you curious to learn through experimentation?

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