A team of USA Today staff hired me to help them conceive a new mobile app for an internal innovation contest. We spent some time discussing the basic objectives and functions they had in mind, then I got out my index cards and Sharpies. A few hours later, with the aid of a prototyping tool called InVision, I had a nice testable "app."
When I met with the team a week later, I'd filmed half a dozen people using it, made three rounds of revisions and produced this findings report [click to download].
My prototypes for ShowMeRemotely, a startup I worked on in business school, propelled my team to first place in the University of Maryland's campus-wide Pitch Dingman business plan competition.
Our concept used Skype Mobile and a network of human "Showffeurs" to give customers first-person experiences in faraway places. This video shows the point of view of a California resident shopping for an apartment in D.C.
I'm a big proponent of Lean Startup, which thrives on rapid prototyping. At the 2014 "Lean Startup Weekend" competition in D.C., I helped my team create and test several iterations of an estate sale business in 48 hours.
The team, D.C. Estate Escapes, proposed to shuttle city residents out to the suburbs of Northern Virginia to take advantage of juicier estate sales. We won a top prize. The judges were impressed because the website I'd built to tell the story of the experience had already signed up 100 customers. The first DCEE production, scheduled for a month later, sold out.