How experiments in the fuzzy front end using prototyping generates new options

John K. Christiansen, Marta Gasparin

Abstract


The fuzzy front in product development is frequently mentioned as the most critical phase of the innovation process, and the five cases of successful design innovations here indicate that experiments and an experimental approach are generating positive outcomes. The experiments in the cases can be characterized as various forms of prototyping. Interestingly the prototyping and experiments took place in the very early phases of the innovation process, rather than later as often advised and interestingly experimentation in the cases here appears to be a vehicle for creating new options. Furthermore, the analysis demonstrates that prototyping can be considered as a punctuation device, as it offers those involved the option of opting out of ongoing processes, routines and engage in playful behavior by allowing for a freer experimentation with materials, processes, methods to challenge existing knowledge and explore potential solutions. In science, by contrast, experimentation generally is carried out to support, refute, or validate a hypothesis, in other words it seems to be associated with testing options rather than creating them.


Keywords


Fuzzy Front End; experiments; prototypes; punctuation, playfulness.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.23726/cij.2017.463

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