The word prototype can conjure up images ranging from engineers in lab coats creating cutting-edge technology to bread boards and 3D prints on garage workbenches. While each of these images has some reality behind it, the truth is that a good prototype can change your business, and maybe the world.
Over the past 95 years, we’ve developed a practice of iterative prototyping that today is fundamental to every project we do—we call it "thinking through making," and for our clients, it's the secret to accelerating progress, reducing risk, and driving adoption of their products.
Years before their historic first flight at Kitty Hawk, the Wright brothers embraced a robust process of prototyping. Beginning with building kites, Wilbur and Orville studied the optimum shape of a wing and other types of control surfaces that would be needed to sustain human flight. They rolled these learnings into gliders and built a wind tunnel to test their designs. The data from these tests, powered the brothers to make more informed decisions, ultimately enabling them to efficiently iterate over 200 wing designs leading to the success of the Wright Flyer ahead of their rivals.
Throughout our history, we’ve relied on prototypes to inform our design decisions when shaping the passenger experience for new modes of transportation. Our relationship with Boeing began before they had built a single passenger plane. Without an actual vehicle to use as a guide, Walter Dorwin Teague and his team built a full-scale mockup in a Manhattan skyscraper to prototype the interior design and passenger experience that would define the new product. Nearly 100 years later, our designers used a similar approach to once again pioneer a new transportation modality with Virgin Hyperloop. Using a mix of physical mockups and virtual reality environments we prototyped complete journeys to develop interior architecture, seating arrangement, lighting solutions, and communications tools to help create a sense of comfort and familiarity for passengers as they zip through a windowless tube at the speed of sound.