Prototyping: Weaving Together Conceptual, Empirical, and Applied Perspectives

PI: Professor Robert I. Sutton


This proposed stream of research will focus on developing a conceptual perspective on prototyping, which is intended to be both empirically grounded and practical.  This stream of research will begin with efforts by Scott Klemmer, Jeffrey, Pfeffer, and Robert Sutton to develop a working framework that specifies the process and effects of rapid prototyping; this framework will be grounded in diverse theory and research from the behavioral sciences and engineering.  

The ideas from this framework will be further developed, tested, and revised on the basis of quantitative and qualitative evidence generated through a year-long d.school "lab" or "learning community" of 8 to 12 organizations that will focus on prototyping potentially better ways of designing and using employee performance evaluations.  This set of pilot studies and experiments will focus on using a “bottoms-up” and human-centered approach to reinventing performance evaluation systems and experiences. 

Debra Dunn, Jeffrey Pfeffer, and Robert Sutton will take the primary leadership roles in developing, guiding, and evaluating the prototypes designed and implemented by this learning community.  Finally, we will use our work on this conceptual framework, evidence from the learning community, and input from design classes and faculty (at both Stanford and Potsdam) to generate and continuously refine a set of practical and valid guidelines for people and organizations that adopt prototyping mindsets and methods.