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The Lightning Round Method: From Prototype to Start-Up Success

Three easy steps to help you jumpstart your company and attract potential investors.


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Dennis Lenard

2 years ago | 2 min read

How do you transform an idea into a tangible prototype? Patented by many high-energy founders, the Lightning Round method promises results — fast. If you're looking to jumpstart your company and attract potential investors, these three easy steps will help you get started.

There's a fair share of daydreaming involved in launching a successful strat-up. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking about the product as if it's already famous, especially when it doesn't even exist.

That's how our brain is hardwired. These fantasies may keep founders motivated, but more often than not make-believe can sabotage the best of efforts. No one should let the trickery of the human mind impede their professional growth.

If our dreams are a major source of motivation, that motivation must translate into hard work. The first step on the steep climb towards affirmation is creating a prototype of your product.

Typically, there are several steps one must go through before creating a prototype. Thorough research, user personas, user needs, and information architecture are just the first few that come to mind.

Contrastively, a lot of founders are so enthusiastic about their idea that they find it difficult to channel their energy into these abstract activities. The Lightning Round method is a radical alternative to traditional prototyping sequences. Forget the preliminary work - take some time out of your day to create your prototype. Choose your favorite prototyping tool and go with your gut.

Set the timer for one hour and surrender to intuition in order to bypass emotional standstills. Keep water nearby to avoid getting up. Make sure to spend every minute doing instead of internally debating whether the prototype is viable. This is not the time for pros and cons. Don't stop until the hour is up.

This intense session should be followed up by a well deserved break. Do something else for half an hour in order to regain a fresh perspective of your work once you return to it. Once you're back to the drawing board, finish adding the features you didn't have time for initially. You don't need to time this stage.

After another thirty minute break, you should organize your workspace in your prototyping tool of choice. This helps you work more systematically and keeps your emotions in check.

When you're done, distract yourself for another half an hour. It's important to give your mind time to rest for the final stage of the Lightning Round. Look carefully at each section of your prototype and add in the minute details. Take as much time as you need. During this step, time pressure can be an unwanted stressor.

The Lighting Round method helps you create a tangible asset within a day. At the end of the sprint, you'll have a prototype that you can show to developers or designers in order to ask for quotes. If you really like the results, you can even present them to prospective investors.

To resume, the Lightning Round method has 3 easy steps:

  1. A one hour prototyping sprint followed by a 30 minute break;
  2. An untimed systemizing session followed by a 30 minute break;
  3. The addition of finishing touches.
Our dreams remain major motivators, but being able to look at your completed prototype for the first time is a step forward in the right direction. Passion and action combined drive success. Getting caught up on one or the other can make you lose sight of your goals.

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Created by

Dennis Lenard

CEO of Creative Navy UX Agency

CEO of top UX agency Creative Navy. Passionate about embedded GUI design and medical device design. https://creative.navy


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