The Bridging Design Prototype (BDP) approach aims to strengthen the activity of design in new product development undertaken by individual designers, software developers or small organisations with incomplete teams.
A BDP is a rapid functional prototype built with features familiar to a user community and with novel features that a designer incorporates after careful analysis of relevant data. It capitalises on a user community’s prior knowledge (i.e. the knowledge a user already has about a situation or an activity) and recognises their context realities. These characteristics bring users into the development process early: users incorporate the prototype into their real activities, while a designer or R&D team employ it for learning about the user community. Early adoption of a concept idea in the form of a rapid functional prototype may lead to socially inclusive products, active community participation, or might help in raising early capital for a small enterprise. A user community will only be prepared to incorporate a new product in their context, when through personal experience they qualify such a product as being useful, usable, and desirable.
BDPs must be fully functional rapid prototypes. Experimentation should not require the presence of designers. By functional, it means that users must be able to implement them into real activities. But, BDPs are not necessarily minimum viable products, as the digital or tangible materials with which they are built could have a limited lifespan.
The participants will be walked through the six BDP principles. Illustrative cases are drawn from projects undertaken in collaboration with a start-up or a SME.
Co-Founder, Strategist, Researcher at OceanBrowser Ltd
Dr Gloria Gomez is co-founder and conceptual designer at OceanBrowser Ltd, which are the developers of OB3 – Beautiful Study for Lifelong Learning, and honorary senior lecturer at the Save Sight Institute, University of Sydney. Gloria undertakes applied design research in novel educational practice with Bridging Design Prototypes. This approach was developed during her PhD to gain entry to natural settings for working with difficult to access and technologically dis-inclined communities. It has enabled individual designers or small organisations with incomplete R&D teams to carry realistic studies with user communities. In Colombia, Denmark, New Zealand and USA, she has lectured and supervised graduate students of engineering and design backgrounds.