Skip to main content

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Design Thinking: Ideation & Prototyping

for Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces

Making it real

Prototyping. It sounds complicated, but it's really fun. Fail fast and fail often is the motto.

A prototype is nothing more or less than a facsimile or approximation of your idea -- bringing it out of your head and into reality. Any materials can be used, but the most common are paper and cardboard.

For a class on prototyping given by IDEO and Acumen, our team chose to look at a way to promote healthy living at work. Here is a photo of our first prototype:

first Health Corner prototype


You can see how flimsy and quick this is -- it took about an hour to make. The materials were:
  • Cardboard
  • Construction paper
  • Sticky notes
  • Copy paper
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Tape
  • Pens/markers

The items represented were:

  • A joke of the day
  • A calendar of upcoming wellness events
  • A poster about good hydration
  • A scale
  • A massage chair
  • A fitness ball
  • A first aid kit

Making it even realer

The next level of prototyping, if appropriate, is to make a full-size version. This allows testing by real people, leading to refinement (iteration). Note that the version we made for testing has some components that are the same, but others were added, changed, or cut from the first prototype for reasons such as cost, practicality, etc.

Library joke and Upcoming eventsJoke of the day and upcoming events
Health Corner table, right sideHealthy recipe swap, ergonomic workspace information
Health Corner table, left sideBrochures, posters, feedback box, tablet, loanable fitbit, food for the "opening"
People testing the Health CornerPeople testing the prototype
Feedback boxFeedback box & forms
Health-o-matic tablet"Health-o-Matic" tablet