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056: What Comes After the Prototype? with Douglas Ferguson

What Comes After the Prototype? with Douglas Ferguson



Prototyping is a mainstay of the tech world, but nothing exists in a vacuum anymore. Disciplines are increasingly cross-pollinating and useful strategies from disparate fields are finding new life in places we may not have expected.

Prototypes are one of those strategies, and my guest on this week’s podcast can attest to that. Douglas Ferguson sits at the intersection of tech users and tech teams, with the workshops he leads creating positive outcomes and outputs for both parties.

But how does he integrate prototypes into workshops and what can we, as facilitators, learn from this traditionally tech-focused technique?

Start prototyping your understanding and dive into this fascinating episode of Workshops Work!

Learn about:

  • The prototyping mindset and how almost anything can be prototyped
  • How the interface between users and tech vs. teams and workshops share similarities
  • Why you need to embrace either fidelity or ambiguity
  • How to spot and manage typical issues that arise in prototyping
  • What designing for frustration and managing expectations looks like
  • Why labelling emotions builds connection and empathy in a room

Although I highly recommend keeping a pen and paper at hand to take notes, you can also just download mine

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Questions and Answers 


[01:40] What led you write your book, Beyond the Prototype, and would you call yourself a facilitator?

[05:29] What do you understand by the word prototype? Is there something you cannot prototype?

[09:36] Are there prototypes that are prone to fail? How would you characterise them?

[16:36] Would you say you work at the interface between the user and a workshop?

[19:20] Can you give an example of a low resolution prototype?

[23:20] What are the minimum requirements for a prototype to survive the ‘beyond’ phase?

[28:54] How do you rebuild or maintain the excitement after the first prototype, especially if it is not well-received?

[32:43] Are expectation management and careful design the key factors in reducing frustration for teams developing prototypes?

[39:09] How would you distinguish the need for facilitative leadership versus the need for an external facilitator?

[42:06] At what point do you hand over your Design Sprint to the in-house leader?

[44:57] What are the key ingredients to help organisations keep momentum and move beyond the prototype?

[49:36] At what point do you craft the design narrative and how do you do it?

[50:38] What would be the strategy you use to design the narrative?

[52:16] Do you build a narrative with the entire group or subgroups? And how do you bring it together?

[55:04] What makes a workshop fail?

[56:44] If someone fell asleep after the first minute and doesn’t have time to relisten to this episode, what is the one takeaway you want them to have?


Links to check



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