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How to prototype and test new solutions quickly

How to prototype and test new solutions quickly

There’s no point investing time and resources into ideas to solve a business or customer problem that ultimately don’t work. KPMG Hackathons can be a great way to get on the right track, and fast.

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James Mabbott

National Leader, KPMG Innovate

KPMG Australia

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Curious, innovative female entrepreneur examining prototype

When planning a solution to a problem, you want to test very quickly if the idea will work. 

This testing of new products or services is critical, and should be done as early as possible to collect feedback to inform future iterations of the solution.

For example, if you create an Artificial Intelligence (AI) robot that serves customers at a retail store, you want to test if it will increase customer satisfaction within just a few days.

But how can we achieve this?

Understand the problem

Solving enterprise problems must start with a deep understanding of the key issues. Most problems touch many parts of the organisation, and this is where a KPMG Hackathon can help.

With a KPMG Hackathon, you can get key stakeholders, decision makers and the end users in the same room to share insights. It’s a chance to develop a comprehensive understanding of all factors of consideration, and to leverage diverse expertise to solve the problem.

Ideate widely

Once the problem is understood, it’s time to generate lots of ideas. You can encourage people to ‘go wide’ and offer novel, creative and interesting approaches. You can filter them down, and select the one that has the most potential.

Concentrating the right people on the task accelerates the prioritisation of ideas, shows up bottlenecks early, and achieves results faster than a series of meetings spread over weeks.

Prototype for the problem

It’s now time to prototype a tangible representation of your solution, ready for testing.

Create prototypes that are just realistic enough to test if the solution meets the problem, and that can generate honest reactions from the users as you gather feedback.

For example, at KPMG, before we dive into building the very best technology for an AI robot’s natural language processing abilities, we test if an AI robot would in fact increase customer satisfaction in the first place. To do this, a robot sitting on a remote control car delivering a cappuccino to a customer, saying “please” and “thank you” through a speaker connected to a microphone at the back, can be enough to extract the user’s response.

In other words, we spend less time engineering a ‘fully functional robot’, and more time finding creative ways to deliver a prototype to obtain feedback fast.

And as this is quick, it provides more time to test, pivot and build on the solution.

Testing adoption rates

While teams can plan the details of any solution, it’s only when it lands in the hands of the end users that it can be truly put to the test.

Therefore, schedule a representative sample of users to test the solution. If the users have been involved in the development process, this step should be smoother.

It’s wise to keep the user environment as neutral as possible, and remember the aim is to continue to learn and understand if your solution meets their needs, rather than to sell the solution itself.

Process is key

To get from problem to effective solution quickly in this way, it takes experience.

KPMG Hackathons draw on our knowledge of delivering successful hackathons, as well as technical experts with deep industry knowledge and experience across different applications. We work with you to generate creative solutions that can be implemented.

We also enable hands-on exposure to emerging technology in data science, web development, Virtual Reality and AI to provide a safe-to-fail environment for understanding the potential of technology for your business.

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