Prototypes as Inquiry, Visualization and Communication
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Gill, Carolina; Sanders, Elizabeth; Shim, Scott
Section: Design Teaching Environment 2
Before engineers and designers can become comfortable with the idea of building conceptual prototypes, they need to understand that prototyping is a valid method for not only for evaluation but also for exploration of concepts. This understanding depends on a deeper recognition that not all questions regarding a real product or system are amenable to mathematical analysis or simulation: there exist questions, often of a qualitative nature, that are necessary to answer even though they cannot be expressed analytically. “Prototypes as a mean of formal evaluation are a relatively small part of the entire design process. Prototypes are the means in which designers organically and evolutionarily learn, discover, generate and refine designs. They are design-thinking enablers deeply embedded and immersed in design practice and not just tools for evaluating or proving successes or failures of design outcomes”. 
Furthermore, as designers’ participation in the fuzzy front end of the development process increases, the definition of prototype and the activity of prototyping evolve. What is a prototype of a service? What are the materials needed to build prototypes for future experiences? How do you prototype behavioral change or transformation?