Embody the Alternatives.

One of the most important principles of design and innovation methods that we’ve learned and apply frequently in our work is to prototype different versions of a new idea. This consists of repeated and iterative tests which allow you to learn quickly what works and what doesn’t, to make them better and stronger, or to go back to the drawing board.

Here is a great video of prototyping in action, from the 2016 film the Founder showing prototyping in action of the first McDonalds restaurant – using just some chalk, a ladder, a tennis court, some people, and a bold vision of how things could and should be (from 30 seconds onwards).

One thing we’ve noticed over the years is people often pay lip service to exploring alternative routes forward. The mindset is along the lines of “yes of course we need to consider all of the options but really I know what we should do and we should just do that”.

This is not helpful and doesn’t move you forward. This attitude assume you have all of the necessary information to make the right decision about which solution is required before really understanding what problem you are solving.

So when prototyping and innovating you really need to live and breathe different perspectives and options. To truly embody the alternatives in a way that makes you feel what it would feel like to work in a new fast food restaurant, or whatever your new idea might be about. This requires empathy built upon an emotional connection.

Doing is the best form of thinking, and feeling is the best form of doing. So embody the alternatives, listen without prejudice, and make your own future.

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Note: Thanks to Murray Sim for fantastic design direction and for sourcing the video clip above too.

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