Transitioning from the Ideate Stage to the Prototype Stage

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Turning ideas into action is the goal of the transition period between Ideating and Prototyping. In this lesson, you'll learn more about the importance of this stage and how to make smart selections moving forward.

The Best Choice

The design team for Yaki Motor Sports has been brainstorming all week to come up with new ideas for its line of side-by-side utility vehicles. But now the team is at a standstill. How will they decide which of their ideas to develop prototypes for?

The transition period from the Ideate stage to the Prototype Stage brings big decisions.
ideate, prototype, transition, design, thinking

The transition period from brainstorming ideas to making a decision about which idea or ideas to develop prototypes, or models, for is an exciting but challenging endeavor. You have to make important decisions about your brainstorming that will help move the team from creative thinking to execution.

Let's take a closer look at this phase.

From Good Idea to Creating a Model

The synthesis process that falls between the Ideate stage, where the design team is brainstorming ideas, to the Prototype stage, where examples are being developed for testing, is all about narrowing down your choices.

The Ideate stage is a lot of creative thinking and idea generation that, hopefully, generates dozens of actionable ideas that will solve the problem the team identified in the early stages of design thinking. Whether it's traditional brainstorming, ''How Might We ...?'' question prompts or the SCAMPER method, the goal of this stage is to have a lot of ideas to choose from.

The Prototype stage, which comes just after Ideate, is about creating quick, inexpensive, scaled-down versions of one or several ideas generated during the Ideate stage. Why? So that the prototypes can be tested and refined into a final product. The Prototype stage is experimental in nature. For example, if the design team for the motor sports company comes up with 50 new ideas for its utility vehicles during the Ideate stage, it's not feasible to test them all. Rather, the team will need to reduce the ideas to the best two or three for testing with end users.

Synthesis Process Tasks

The purpose of the time between the Ideate stage and the Prototype stage is to narrow down your options for prototypes and preserve your capacity to innovate. What does that mean? Your team likely came up with dozens of ideas in brainstorming, but it's not feasible to test them all. Choosing two or three for testing allows you to explore multiple options, while protecting the remaining ideas for potential future testing.

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