What Pipe Cleaners, Markers and Glue Can Teach You about Innovative Prototyping

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Photo credit: MassTLC

Cantina’s Senior Experience Designer Conor Sheehan and SVP Innovation George White lead an interactive and engaging hands-on session at NewCo Boston Thursday morning on rapid prototyping, and they even encouraged attendees to work on some real prototypes and to play with pipe cleaners, glue, legos, and plastic sunglasses.

As the group got started, the team shared Cantina’s core principles: 

  • Great designs don’t just happen: they are the results of iteration, revision and the application of perspective.
  • Creating prototypes and models is a core activity of the design process. Using prototypes to explore variations and test your design help you learn about what makes your product great — and what needs refinement.
  • Cantina uses prototyping methodology to validate ideas with users, and creates a feedback loop where the team can keep learning, iterating, and innovating.
  • Cantina takes amazing ideas and turns them into ‘digital reality’ for startups and enterprises.
  • Cantina’s core offerings include mobile product development, “internet of things” implementations, responsive design, and enterprise grade technical design.

This lively session took place during NewCo Boston, an annual festival hosted by MassTLC where 85+ tech companies open their doors and welcome the community in to learn about their vision and culture. NewCo is the brainchild of Wired Magazine founder John Battelle and is held in a couple dozen cities around the globe.

Key take-a-ways from today’s session included:

  • A prototype should be quick to build, lightweight, and inexpensive. It is never permanent, complete, or overgrown.  It’s for demonstration and testing purposes only.  It says, “This is what I’m thinking.  Do you think this could work?  No?  How about something like this?”  This process can happen over and over, and works best with a small group of open minded people bouncing ideas around.
  • This type of open creative process build trust, and a cohesive team makes great things happen.
  • Cantina passed out Top Secret problems to 4 groups and gave each group a short amount of time to develop some ideas and create a quick presentation. Each group developed a rapport quickly, and all the presentations were fantastic.
  • George and Conor closed the session with a valuable reminder, “The next time you’re thinking about having a meeting to maybe create something, remember that in less time than that meeting will take, you actually created something today.”

NewCo Boston is one of four signature industry-wide events MassTLC hosts throughout the year – the others include: Boston/TechJam in June, the Mass Technology Leadership Awards in September, and TRANSFORM in November. Check out our events calendar for details upcoming MassTLC events.