Commercialization Process: Prototyping


Prototyping is the output of product design and transfers the design into a tangible solution that can be used to evaluate features sets, ergonomics, usability, and validate assumptions. Prototyping is an iterative process where each generation builds upon the last as problems and opportunities are discovered and resolved. Prototyping can take many forms from physical objects to computer code and human-machine interfaces, to business models. All prototypes are a means to demonstrate an element of the design to verify if the implementation meets the product and market requirements.

How this Milestone Reduces Project Risk

Prototypes provide the next level of refinement and verification of a technology solution. Prototypes also provide the opportunity to evaluate a physical design, sometimes for the first time and will be used throughout component, safety and usability testing.

What to consider at this time

Consideration should be given to: what is the purpose of the prototype and who is the audience? Should the prototype be purely functional or are there usability and aesthetic considerations as well?


The Prototyping Education Module contains key information about the following objectives:

  • Consider the purpose of the prototype and intended audience (internal only, proof of concept for investors, etc.)
  • Depending on product complexity consider breaking the design into sub-systems or sub-assemblies as needed
  • Design the prototype(s) to mimic the anticipated production processes and components as possible.
  • Create a test plan and document the results.
Prototyping Guide

A great primer into what prototyping means in the process.

Technology Review Supplemental Reading

Supplemental reading for Prototyping to assist with the planning of this critical step.