Great Business Ideas: Deep-dive prototyping

Great Small Business Ideas to Start: Deep-dive prototyping

A deep-dive process is a focused, team approach to developing solutions to specific problems or challenges. It is intended to harness the ideas of everyone in a team in a creative, stimulating, focused, energetic, fun, and useful way.

The idea

A deep dive is a combination of brainstorming and prototyping (where an initial potential solution is explored and developed). This is an approach that anyone leading a change initiative can use to identify actions that can move a business forward. A deep dive can be completed in an hour, a day, or a week.

The main stages in the deep-dive process are:

  • Building a varied team.
  • Defining the design challenge.
  • Visiting experts.
  • Sharing ideas.
  • Brainstorming and voting.
  • Developing a fast prototype.
  • Testing and refining the prototype.
  • Focusing on the prototype and producing a final solution.

In practice

IDEO, a prominent American design company, believes that there are several stages in deep-dive prototyping (for further information see The Art of Innovation: Lessons in creativity from IDEO, America’s leading design firm by Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman).

  • Understand your market, customers, technology, and perceived constraints.
  • Observe people in real-life situations.
  • Synthesize and organize the key themes from the first two phases.
  • Visualize: this often involves intensive brainstorming and discussion. Imagine new concepts and ideas around the main themes of the design.
  • Prototyping is next, and this involves building ideas and physical brainstorming.
  • Refine and streamline your ideas. Again, brainstorm ways to improve the prototype and overcome obstacles, and narrow and focus your concepts. Evaluate and prioritize your ideas, and decide how they will be implemented.
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Other valuable aspects of creative problem solving that may be applied when time is tight include:

  • Trying first (and asking for forgiveness later).
  • Test marketing.
  • Ensuring that teams are as varied and diverse as possible.
  • Seeking external input.
  • Reducing, and virtually eliminating, hierarchy.
  • Involving people, generating a sense of play, and working without boundaries.
  • Being flexible about working arrangements.
  • Accepting that it is all right to try and fail.
  • Imposing a deadline, while allowing people the time to be creative.