Yesterday I went to a meeting to learn about new regulations for a grant I am writing. There is a substantially new financial reporting form, and within minutes of reading it, many of the attendees had questions about what information was needed. The administrator did not know the answers; the financial reviewer was not available, and we left the meeting with more questions than answers.

I think of how many times we are all guilty of preparing a new form or policy that makes perfect sense to us but ends up being confusing for the user. Wouldn’t we be better off if we made it a part of the process to test our products or process with those who will be using it before implementing them?

Prototyping is precisely the final stage in Human-Centered Design, where a model or draft of your concept is shared with those who will be engaged in the solution. The goal is to get feedback from the end users early in the process to reduce your risk, learn what is/isn’t working, and make iterations to change the design for the better.

It may feel like it takes more time to prototype and field test, but in the end, you’ll save yourself time and gain allies as you create a better process. What idea do you have that needs to go out for a test run before it’s final?

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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