What Cooking Taught Me About Prototyping and Experimenting

Photo credit: Toa Heftiba

Product designers prototype and experiment frequently. It is an essential part of the design and development process that involves translating early ideas into tangible prototypes that we can test. The aim is to “build the right thing,” before “building the thing right.”

However, the prototyping or experimenting doesn’t have to be limited to what we do for work. In fact, bringing this approach to your everyday life has the magical effect of turning common challenges into moments of playful exploration. It’s not necessarily about finding the ultimate answer, but enjoying the opportunity to experiment, improve, and learn along the way. You can prototype or experiment on anything as long as you have the right mindset and get creative.

Here’s what happened to me this week with an energy balls recipe experiment.

One: Get Inspired

The recipe required, almond, nut butter and cocoa powder that I did not have in my kitchen although I did have dates luckily. I was determined to try making this but didn’t want to take a special trip to the shop especially now we are in national lockdown 2.0 due to Covid-19. That’s when my prototyping and experimenting obsession kicks in.

Two: Start Out Low-fidelity/cost

I grounded walnuts into powder, added in dates and bananas then blended them all together.

Photo credit: Louis Hansel

Three: Analyze the result

The bad news: Once I made it into energy balls, they didn’t keep the form very well and appeared to be too moist in addition to the overpowering banana smell.

This was the perfect time for iteration: looking into different ingredients and ways to improve the smell and reduce moist.

Four: Iterate Until Satisfied

This experience helped me further understand why I always enjoyed cooking in the first place. It also taught me that prototyping and experimenting can be everywhere in daily life.

Do you have similar experiences?