Research‎ > ‎Design Thinking‎ > ‎


Test prototype and check assumptions

Testing is the final phase in the design process. In this phase you need to find out whether the assumptions you made in the design process are true or not and what influence this has on your business design. Here your research strategy is of the utmost importance. You need to ask yourself; what do I want to measure? How do I want to measure it? When I measure, will I measure what I want to measure? Will the results of my research be representative, reliable and valid.

In this final stage, the most important questions you want to answer are about the Innovation Space:
  • is the product feasible
    • technically
    • price wise
  • is the product desirable
    • experience
    • features
    • benefits
  • is the business viable
    • volumes
    • gross margin
    • costs for marketing and distribution
    • overheads

How to get started:

  1. formulate critical path to success
  2. formulate critical assumptions
  3. test prototype to check assumptions 
  4. repeat step 2 and 3 when necessary 
First check you business design for critical assumptions. Then formulate a main research question or hypothesis for each critical assumption and add sub-questions that specify the main question. Then elaborate on: 
  • Research strategy and methodology
  • Research activities
  • Obstacles in obtaining information
  • Your strategy to overcome those obstacles
  • Reflection on the research process
  • List of papers and publications used
  • List of other resources and sources of information

At the end of the Test Phase you should have clarity on:

  • the desirability of your product
  • the feasibility of your product
  • the viability of your business
  • the assumptions in your business design

Research process and methods:

  • PLAN:
    • Orientation: formulate required outcome of this design phase
      • brainstorm
    • Strategy: formulate research strategy
      • formulate critical path to success
      • formulate critical assumptions
      • choose research strategy and methodology
      • formulate obstacles for research success
      • formulate your strategy to overcome those obstacles
      • substantiate choices
      • plan activities
    • Data gathering
      • reach out to research participants
      • conduct research
        • confront participants with prototype
        • conduct observations, surveys and/or interviews
    • Formulate hypothesis (outcome of the research process)
      • analyse data
      • brainstorm
      • apply critical thinking
    • Log and resources
      • log of research activities
      • list of papers and publications used
      • list of other resources and sources of information
    • Check test results. 
      • does the test group represent the population of prospective customers?
      • are the test results reliable?
      • have we really measured what we wanted to measure?
      • are the test results within the limits of our expectations?
    • Adjust prototype and research strategy when necessary and test again
      • assess information
      • apply critical thinking
      • determine actual outcome of the research process
    • Review the research process
      • review
      • reflect
      • act to adjust the general research strategy

ndw 2014