Abstract

In a new product development process, multiple decisions must be made regarding the selection of concepts to pursue and how a product should be constructed. In many companies, these decisions are informed by the results from prototype tests.

In this research, we investigate which challenges practitioners experience when they prototype, the opportunities they see for overcoming such challenges, and the current trends and developments that affect prototyping in industry.

Data were collected from eight practitioners from the Danish industry through a mixed methods research approach consisting of a small survey and focus group discussions. A qualitative content analysis resulted in the identification of 23 prototyping challenges, 15 opportunities for future improvement, and 5 prototyping trends.

Practitioners feel challenged when they have to make decisions from a few prototypes with limited properties and they seek guidance on the proper use of prototyping strategies during the development process. Additionally, challenges arise due to gaps between virtual and physical prototyping, regulations in the medical industry, and unexpected misinterpretations of prototypes.

These results contribute to our understanding of prototyping in industry and helps us identify areas where the research community can focus their future efforts for the benefit of practitioners.

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