Is your Innovation Process Built for Speed?

Speed in innovation is vital for results; it enables companies to focus quickly on emerging consumer trends and can drive costs down and quality up. 

Research shows that overly long development periods remain one of the biggest obstacles in innovation. One study from BCG cites this as the most problematic issue of 6 significant hurdles in the innovation process. 

Increasing speed to market will boost a company’s top and bottom lines and the financial benefits will usually outweigh the up-front costs of pushing speed to market. Pretotyping can reduce those up-front costs and save months in development.

How can Pretotyping help speed things up?

From an innovation standpoint, there’s more than one aspect to speed… there’s the rate at which new products or services can be developed, in addition to the delivery speed of those products or services to the market…how fast can we get them on the table?

Some organisations will lean more heavily towards development in the first instance, while others will lean towards delivery. Whichever you sway towards, both styles of innovation will have some habits in common…most notably lean processes and prototyping.

It’s here that Pretotyping can really push the process into the fast lane. Pretotyping removes the need for wasted time spent developing the wrong idea. It hones and perfects the idea, asking the right questions at the right times as the Pretotyping process is followed. 

The difference between Pretotyping and prototyping

A prototype can take a long time to build; months and even years in some unfortunate cases…and that’s far too long. A Pretotype can be built or conceptualised in a few hours and tested over a few days.

A prototype is trying to answer the question “Can we build or make this?”

A Pretotype asks “Should we do this?” 

One of the techniques of Pretotyping includes reducing the process to the most basic elements of a new product or service. This is known as “The Pinocchio” because it’s a fake, a dummy…nothing more than a partial mock-up of the new product or service. It helps speed up the innovation process by allowing creators to decide on features early on, to test or collect feedback and usage data and to analyse that data. 

This technique was famously used during the creation of the Palm Pilot…the first incarnation of which was a block of wood with sketched-on buttons and a chopstick for a stylus. Although Pretotyping as a term was not known during this time, it was a concept that worked well enough for Jeff Hawkins to learn all he needed about the viability of the product before he launched into building a prototype.

Alberto Savoia, the Godfather of Pretotyping who developed the initial concept of Pretotyping while working as Google’s Innovation Agitator, defines Pretotyping as “building the right product before you invest in building your product right.”

Pretotyping enables innovators to use imaginary scenarios, gain feedback from the right audience and learn more about the practical use of their idea before wasting precious hours building what could potentially be the wrong product.

The time spent researching a product or service which turns out to be unpopular in trials or which just happens to be a dud in performance can be saved very early on in the game via Pretotyping.

Today’s companies are no longer asking themselves if they need to consider speed in their innovation processes but rather how soon can they speed things up and how fast can they go.

Learn more about how Pretotyping can help your business succeed in innovation and gain traction through our consulting and workshops.