What Is Pretotyping?

A professor at my alma mater was influential in developing the hypothesis of pretotyping, Sid Saleh. He used to say, “it is not a spelling error; it is pre-prototyping.” 

Pretotyping is the rapid construction of a problem solution to test the answer immediately. 

For example, if your idea is a new coffee cup. You could make a pretotype coffee cup in 1 day out of high-density foam. This pretotype would allow you to feel the ergonomics of the product, and you could go interview coffee drinkers with the pretotype in hand to see if it solves a perceived problem with existing coffee cups. 

Pretotyping is the first stab at solving the problem. It should be fast, simple, and cheap. It would be best to use it as a stepping stone to customer feedback. If used correctly, this allows you to test how well your actual product will work in the open market.

Pretotypes vs Prototypes?

A pretotype is the first attempt at capturing the essence of the proposed product. It should be a quick and affordable mock-up of the product so that you can use it and deliver feedback and so that potential customers can use it and provide feedback as we discussed in our previous blog. 

At Denham Products, we pride ourselves on getting products to market efficiently. Our dedication to perfecting the small details drives us to iterate pretotypes multiple times based on user feedback. The cost of building out multiple prototypes is prohibitive; that is why an innovator should only build a prototype out once or twice.

The ideal time to prototype a product is once a solution is discovered that appeals to your target audience. A prototype should look, feel, and function like a finished product. Still, it might have a few workarounds, such as an off-the-shelf circuit board instead of a custom one, or it may be 3D printed instead of injection-molded, or cuts made with an angle grinder instead of a laser. It may be rough around the edges, but it is sellable and should be attempted to be sold.

Pretotypes vs Prototypes?

Pretotyping allows inventors to iterate at lightning speed for a fraction of the cost. It means that for the price of one prototype, you could make ten pretotypes, talk to customers, and synthesize the root need of the product down to precisely what the customer will purchase. In addition, Pretotyping allows you to learn fast. You can jump from one problem to another and accumulate the feedback to create a prototype that hits the customers’ needs dead on. 

Often, someone has a “great” idea that will “totally revolutionize” the industry; however, this idea is a hypothesis and must be tested through experimentation, aka pretotyping. An example of this type of failure is the Ford Edsel. Ford wanted it, but the American consumer wanted a smaller, more economical vehicle. The Ford executives made the car based on presumptions and didn’t do the due diligence needed to establish a market niche for the car, and it flopped. It was discontinued only three years after its inception.

Choose Denham Products, we’re excited to work with you!

With our mission to revitalize the American and Global Innovator, we must give back to our community! Denham Products is a company that cares about the community around us! Frequently, we participate in ways well beyond our dollars, from donating to nonprofits to showing kids with dyslexia that the sky is the limit. In addition, some team members partner with their alma mater to mentor the next generation of innovative dreamers. 

If you have an idea, our goal is to bring it to life. So reach out to us, and let’s start the process of turning your vision into a reality.