Prototyping in practice – Paths and partners for testing novel industrial product and service ideas

Senni Kirjavainen*, Simo Lahdenne, Tua Björklund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


Prototyping is a core activity when developing new products, processes, and organisations alike. This paper describes the prototyping activities of 31 engineering design professionals in a high-technology industrial company. Findings examine the distribution of different types of activities across different phases of development based on thematic interviews. Examining 62 prototyping and testing pathways, we found that most prototyping paths started with the practitioners’ own activities. These pathways were more likely to lead to prototyping paths with increased prototyping steps, than if the first prototyping activity took place in collaboration with a stakeholder. Overall, the pathways were short, which may indicate a lack of iteration. Both internal and external stakeholders were involved in collaborative prototyping, which was enabled by personal and unit level relationships. It was noted that different stakeholders were involved in different phases of development. Taken together, our results suggest that practitioner attention in prototyping may focus on latter development phases and demonstrate less iteration than what literature might suggest. In addition, findings highlight that opportunities for prototyping often depend on personal networks in the high-technology context if flexible prototyping budgets are not possible. We suggest organizations pay attention to supporting collaboration and prototyping throughout development processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-19
Number of pages6
JournalCERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • prototyping
  • collaboration
  • idea advancement


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