Smart Companies Prototype


    Prototyping lets you test ideas and learn from them quickly in a low-risk way.

    Waitrose has been in the news this week after it announced that it is going to trial reducing the plastic footprint of its Oxford store.

    The company has a number of initiatives underway in the store, from removing plastic on flowers and plants to reducing the plastic packaging on its fruit and veg. It is also offering beer, wine and Ecover refills. Customers can even borrow a box to get their goods home for a £5 refundable deposit.

    This all sounds good, and, even better, it should have legs as it is linked to the company’s ‘Partners Against Waste’ pledge to deliver a waste-free future.

    No doubt Waitrose pulled together a team of experts from across its business, from Marketing to the frontline, to work on this exciting prototype – because that is what the Oxford trial is: a prototype. A starting point for the company to move forward from.

    As Waitrose shows, smart companies prototype all sorts of things. They do this as a way to test and learn, to get things to market quickly and to ensure they don’t either have projects that are never finished or are costly mistakes.

    The exciting thing is that prototyping isn’t just for the big companies. Anyone can reap the benefits.

    The key steps for prototyping are pretty straightforward and run as follows:

    • Identify the projects that will make a difference to your business.

    • Set out your strategic intent, and onboard the project team.

    • Let your project team test and learn.

    • If it works, then great, roll it out.

    • If it fails, well at least you know before you rolled it out.

    So, you might not all be as high profile as Waitrose, but you can follow its example, and be a smart company that prototypes.