Prototype like you’re right… Test like you’re wrong

Prototype like you’re right… Test like you’re wrong

It’s really important that you’re clear on why we prototype and test. It’s not to validate your idea. We test to see where our idea falls down. And why. Then use this information to improve it.

We need to take a position based on the best information we have and create prototypes to test our thinking. We also know this information is incomplete, and to some degree, inaccurate. But we’ll never have perfect information.

The scientific method is a way of learning. A way of solving problems. It’s a way of testing ideas – identifying where the ideas are wrong and why, improving the idea, and testing again. When we apply the scientific method, we don’t seek to validate our thinking – we seek to learn and improve.

It’s become common language in the startup world over the past few years to talk about “validating your idea”. It’s semantic, but I think this is dangerous language. Our confirmation bias is already very strong. We preference sources and pieces of information that confirm what we already believe. If we set out
to validate our ideas, there’s a good chance we’ll find – or select – evidence that supports our belief.

Instead, I encourage you to prototype like you’re right… test like you’re wrong.