Prototyping and Cultural Change

By: Mha Institute  09-12-2011

The most important raw material for cultural change has always been the interplay among individuals, and the expression of their ideas, which lead to an ability to innovate and change ways of working.  A form of action learning called

prototyping

is based on the way in which humans actually learn and innovate.  In short, prototyping is a way of figuring out what to do by doing small experiments.  Because the experiments are small, the risk is lower, thus providing more control on possible negative ripple effects.  Prototyping also saves time by not over-planning, and then needing to revise the plan because conditions have changed, or something has been learned that changes how people think about the plan.

To do this, prototyping requires

collaborative creativity

.  This is a special form of group work in which people figure things out in a continuous state of ambiguity and complexity.  Prototyping operates on the paradox of

slowing down to speed up

.  This means that the process seems slow at the beginning, but it has a surprising ability to speed up and cascade as time progresses.  This is why it is such an effective process.  In prototyping, people figure something out, test it in relative safety, modify it based on what they have learned, and then test it again.  They go through this process until they have something that works well enough to take to a broader application.

 


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