How to use live prototyping to solve complex problems - A Festival Story from Uscreates.

Following the biggest Service Design Fringe Festival to date, we're sharing the highlights of our talks and workshops with the global community, so everybody can join in discussions around our industry. Continuing in a series of short stories, Karen Barrett, Design Consultant at Uscreates, writes about how live prototyping can quickly help tackle complex problems.

Uscreates held their first Inside Design Prototyping Breakfast Workshop during this year’s Service Design Fringe Festival. The value of prototyping was demonstrated through a creative, hands-on session that involved plenty of live prototyping.

Prototyping is the process of mocking up an idea quickly and with minimal resource to assess and improve its viability, desirability and feasibility. Prototyping can be a very valuable means of innovating in cost-effective and low-risk ways, saving costs by building confidence before piloting and gaining buy-in for change.

Image courtesy of Uscreates.

Image courtesy of Uscreates.

Joanna Choukeir, Chief Design Officer at Uscreates, introduced the session and the many organisations represented in the room including PWC, Social Finance, Bupa, the RSA and many more. An overview of prototyping methodologies opened the door to the different processes used while the popular Jargon Buster demystified the language surrounding prototyping.

Our guest speaker Jemma Gilbert, of Healthy London Partnership, then took to the floor to guide us through a series of projects where HLP has used prototyping to tackle complex social and health issues.

Katie Baggs, Captain of the Ambassadors at the Service Design Fringe Festival, gets stuck into some live prototyping.

Katie Baggs, Captain of the Ambassadors at the Service Design Fringe Festival, gets stuck into some live prototyping.

Patrick Ladbury, of Uscreates, led a lively prototyping session, where participants were brought through quick sprints to tackle real challenges facing their organisations. The colourful box of building materials on each table caused much excitement. Indeed the materials were put to good use as participants used them to prototype a robotic PA, a 6D cinema experience or a retina detecting ATM.

Although much fun was had, there was consensus that the activity was also insightful and informative. Participants commented that the session reiterated to the them the importance of action and live user testing rather than getting caught in the planning stage.

Thanks very much for reading one of the festival stories! If you want to learn more about how to use live prototyping in service design, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter, to stay informed about future blogs. Prototyping was a recurring theme at this year's festival, so there are more Festival Stories on their way that provide different perspectives on the issue. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response Uscreates is planning another session for November 16th. Please get in touch if you would like to join this or future events by emailing 

With love,

The Service Design Fringe Festival Team