This is my favorite stage! Prototyping is the stage in which ideas are created for testing. The d.school uses this helpful phrase, “build to think and test to learn.” Another variation is to “build to test and not build to last.”
One of the biggest challenges in life, whether it be in the arena of design or faith, is the fear of failure. This fear of failure is found in all aspects of life and can cripple innovation and spiritual growth. This “failure paradox” prevents people from taking risks and thus prevents people from growing. The goal of this stage of spiritual design thinking is to overcome the “failure paradox” by introducing a new paradigm that encourages experimentation and exploration.
Tom and David Kelley of the design firm IDEO speak to this issue in the their book “Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential in All of Us” (highly recommend). They said, “A widely held myth suggest that creative geniuses rarely fail. Yet according to Professor Dean Keith Simonton of the University of California, Davis, the opposite is actually true: creative geniuses, from artists like Mozart to scientists like Darwin, are quite prolific when it comes to failure — they just don’t let that stop them.”
The hope of this stage is to reframe the challenge of the “failure paradox” and introduce a new paradigm that encourages faith and creativity.