Dk impactmethods buildrunproto transparent

Build & Run Prototypes

Build your prototypes quickly, share them immediately, keep learning.


Suggested Time

Suggested Time Variable - from a few days to a few weeks depending on what you’re prototyping and how many rounds you do

Level of Difficulty


Materials Needed

Pens, paper, supplies


Design team

Process Phase

Once you Determine What to Prototype, the time has come to get out there and start testing. You identified what you needed to learn about your concepts during that activity, and these questions should be your kick-off point now. Remember that prototypes are meant only to convey an idea not be perfect. Think small, scrappy, and inexpensive. The aim is to get feedback from the people you’re designing for in a quick and rapid way, quickly move through a variety of iterations, and build on what you learn.


  1. Create a worksheet for each of your prototypes using the Prototype Report Card worksheet. The report card has two sections. The top section will help you and your team align on what you want to learn and how you’ll do your testing (this may take a bit of time upfront but will set you up for success). The bottom section will be where you document what you learn later.
  2. You can prototype ideas using any number of activities, such as Storyboards, Role Plays, models, mock-ups. The goal is to make something tangible that is good enough to get your idea across.
  3. Now take your prototype out and test it with end users. Put it in their hands, observe how they interact with it, and ask them what they make of it. Make sure to Get Feedback.
  4. Debrief with your team after every round of testing to record what went well, what is not working, and any ideas you have about what might need to change. Check out the Integrate Feedback and Iterate activity for guidance on this, and remember to document your learning in your Prototype Report Card.
  5. Once you’ve quickly built another prototype do it all over again. When you feel that you’ve got a good understanding about what is desirable, feasible and viable, move on to the Theory of Change activity to fine tune your model for impact.