Try Before You Buy:

The Power in Prototypes

by Bethany Joy



As Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, once said, prototypes allow designers to think in a tangible way and fail quickly and cheaply, saving us time and resources. Let’s explore four essential guidelines for effective prototyping and learn how we can apply them to turn our dreams into reality. This is a part of the series I have been podcasting on design thinking! We started with empathy, defined problems, ideated solutions, and now it’s time to prototype! This isn’t just for designers we all can learn how to use this method to get our ideas from our brains to the real world.


Like Nike Says: Just Do It

Are you someone who tends to get caught up in planning and hesitates to take action? Trust me, I’ve been there too. Many of us spend hours fantasizing about our ideas without actually testing them. However, an idea is just a fantasy until it has been tested. So, take that leap of faith and create a prototype of what you want to achieve.

For example, if you’re considering moving to a new city, don’t just daydream about it. Visit the city, live there for a couple of weeks, and experience the daily life. Explore the neighborhoods where you would potentially live. This hands-on approach will give you a more realistic understanding of whether the idea aligns with your expectations.



Just Keep Swimming

Be like Dori in Finding Nemo and just keep swimming!  Prototyping is all about speed and avoiding emotional attachment to ideas that might not work. We often fall victim to the sunk cost fallacy, feeling that all the time, energy, and resources we’ve invested will go to waste if we abandon an idea. However, continuing down an unfruitful path will only waste more of your precious time and resources.

Let go of ideas that don’t resonate and embrace failure as an opportunity for learning. I’ve had my fair share of hobbies and ventures that didn’t work out. From collecting random exercise equipment to fantasizing about becoming a marathon runner, I realized that my true passion lay elsewhere and I am ok with enjoying walks lol. It’s okay to let go and focus on what genuinely works for you instead of forcing a process to fit your goal. Processes can change keep the goal the same.


Keep the Main Thing The Main Thing

When creating prototypes, it’s essential to have a central testing issue in mind. While you remain focused on your ultimate goal, don’t lose sight of other valuable lessons that might emerge along the way.

For instance, when trying out a new exercise routine for the umpteenth time, it’s easy to get caught up in finding the perfect shoes, leggings, or gym membership. However, remember your primary goal and the problem you’re solving. Stay focused on the essential aspects and avoid distractions that might take you off course.



Prototyping is a powerful tool that allows us to turn our ideas into reality. By following these guidelines, you can harness the potential of prototyping to iterate and refine your concepts. Remember that failure is not the end but an opportunity for growth and learning. Embrace the journey, and don’t be afraid to test, refine, and test again. Your dreams are within reach!

Thank you for reading. To stay connected, visit or email Join Seen & Celebrated, our weekly newsletter, to support local creative women and businesses in Maryland and access the newsletter archive. If you need portraits, design work, or business support, I’m here for you. Reach out to me, Bethany Joy, for your unique needs.





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Resources: – Chu, Melissa. “Announcing Your Goals Makes You Less Likely to Achieve Them.” [Link](
– “Sunk Cost Fallacy.” [Link](


Your Creativity is Powerful

by Bethany Joy



In our podcast journey exploring Design Thinking, we have delved into various aspects of problem-solving, but one recurring theme remains the significance of a growth mindset. In a rapidly changing world, the ability to think flexibly becomes crucial for survival. However, as responsibilities increase, the process of dreaming and ideating can become more challenging. It’s natural to seek comfort and avoid disappointment, frustration, and pain. Yet, it’s essential to recognize that pushing through discomfort and embracing challenges builds resilience and makes us stronger individuals. In this series, we have already covered self-compassion and defining problems while overcoming procrastination. Now, it’s time to reignite our dreams and creative potential.


Creativity as a Learned Skill

Recently, I stumbled upon an article that resonated deeply with me. It highlighted an important fact applicable to all creative individuals, especially those in the design field: waiting for inspiration to strike is not always feasible. Contrary to popular belief, creativity is not solely reliant on inspiration or raw talent. The core message of our podcast is that creativity is a skill that can be learned and cultivated over time.


So, how can we nurture our own ideas and enhance our ideation skills? Let’s explore two valuable practices:


Make Room for Imagination

Imagination is a powerful tool that allows us to envision new possibilities. While it’s crucial to identify potential problems, we mustn’t solely focus on them. It’s equally important to make space for positive and playful imagination. In today’s interconnected world, we often overlook our unique perspectives. Although group brainstorming sessions are well-intentioned, they can be influenced by biases that limit the effectiveness of idea generation. Remember, you have the ability to bring fresh, unique solutions to your life. Allow yourself to think unconventionally, embrace limitless possibilities, and tap into the power of your imagination.



Stop Judging Start Writing

Judgment is a part of our daily lives, but when it comes to generating ideas, we must grant ourselves the freedom to withhold judgment from our initial thoughts. The next time you encounter a problem, take a moment to start writing and let your ideas flow onto paper. Don’t worry about perfection or whether the ideas seem real or strange. Sometimes, the journey to truly brilliant ideas begins with expressing the not-so-great ones. Remember, there’s no race to have perfect ideas—give yourself permission to explore and experiment without judgment.


Unleash Your Creativity

Design thinking and the ideation process hold incredible potential for problem-solving and unleashing our creative potential. By cultivating our imagination and embracing a non-judgmental mindset, we can foster innovation and develop unique solutions. Let’s dream big and work towards making the world a more creative and problem-solving place.


I hope this gives you some ideas on how to gather the strength to keep moving this year. Remember that when you feel like everything is going wrong you can still choose to be kind. You can choose to be hopeful and fight for the better. Happy Mid-year! Let’s continue doing what we dream of. If you want some cute encouragement to check out the affirmations below!




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