Pretotyping is essentially about testing the initial appeal and actual usage of a potential new product by simulating its core experience with the smallest possible investment of time and money.The Pretotyping concept is developed by Alberto Savoia, former Google Director of Engineering. The concept was initially coined pretendotype because the most unique aspect of this approach is to pretend to have the intended functionality af a new product ready at hand. The Copenhagen Lean Startup Circle threw an inspiring event on Pretotyping yesterday, hosted at Founders House, delivered by Tim Vang CEO of pretotyping.dk.
Tim Vang argued that Pretotyping is a tool even more Lean than the Lean Startup. It is an in depth supplement to the Lean Startup Movement concepts of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and concierge testing. The pretotyping tool focusses only on the very early phases of innovation – therefore as Tim Vang emphasized it is a hammer and not a Swiss knife as the Lean Startup concept is.
Market testing > product testing
The pretotyping concept emphazises that market testing should precede product testing. In other words it’s all about finding the right it before you build it right. Quickly testing the commercial value of an idea will let you invest money in a mature way and live up to the Pretotyping tagline:
“Invent Like a startup, invest Like a grown up”
Practical testing vs. Abstract analysis
According to Tim Vang focus groups and market analysis are an abstract practice. Desk top research and board room talks can lead you to whatever conclusion. Practical testing and data from the moment of purchase however will prove you right or wrong.
Pretend you have a product even before your first prototype and see if customers will buy it. “Fake it ‘till you validate it” could be the mantra until you feel confident that there is a commercial potential for your product. Pretotyping might be a hammer compared to the Swiss knife of The Lean Startup but in the end it is not an either or, rather as Tim Vang emphasized pretotyping is a part of thinking as a lean startup!
A free PDF copy of the Pretotyping book is available here: http://www.pretotyping.org/uploads/1/4/0/9/14099067/pretotype_it_2nd_pretotype_edition-2.pdf