Before getting too deep into the development process, we recommend creating several POCs around potential solutions.

A Proof of Concept (POC) is a preliminary project used to demonstrate the feasibility of a particular idea or method in a real-world application. It's a small-scale experiment to test whether a concept is viable and can be successfully implemented. POCs are particularly valuable in identifying potential issues, validating the core functionalities of a concept, and ensuring that it's practical before committing significant resources to full-scale development.

They are a crucial step in the innovation process, helping to gauge the potential success of new ideas.

The concept of a Proof of Concept (POC) is integral in the initial stages of product development. It serves as a preliminary test aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of an innovative idea or method. This early validation is not just about confirming that a concept is workable; it plays a crucial role in laying the groundwork for the entire project.

The importance of POCs in the development process cannot be overstated. They offer a safety net, allowing organisations to avoid significant investments in concepts that might prove unviable. Identifying potential flaws or limitations early, POCs facilitate more strategic decision-making and planning.

A delicate balance is required when transitioning from a POC to developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The POC should be detailed enough to showcase the core functionality of the idea, yet it should not be as elaborate as the MVP. This balance is critical to demonstrating potential without overcommitting resources too early. In this context, usability testing becomes a crucial component.

An illustration of a car concept next to a production concept
Image An illustration of a car concept next to a production concept

Setup POCS to solve current processes and workflows

A good use case for POCs, when you are migrating from paper to digital, is around how you can utilise modern technology or third-party services to improve the current process without building production-ready code from scratch.

The last thing we want to do is digitise the paper process in its current state.

An illustration of a group of people looking at improving workflows
Image An illustration of a group of people looking at improving workflows

For each piece of data being collected in the current process, ask yourself whether it’s needed or if you can get this information automatically from somewhere else without even having to ask them in the first place. For example:

Whenever cattle are sold or transferred, a consignment has to be created. Think of this a bit like a DHL waybill where you have to state what is included in the “package”, where it has come from and where it is going. Rather than require the sender to complete the form, we could automatically complete all the required documentation after receiving and scanning the cattle onto the new farm and send a confirmation to the sender after the fact.

While this would require changes in legislation and internal processes to enact, you could prototype, test and validate this process within a few weeks from start to finish.

Utilise existing marketplaces and integrations.

Software marketplaces and app stores are everywhere. I’m sure you have used either Apple’s AppStore or Google’s “Play” store before, but there are also marketplaces and apps for most of your common platforms and tools:

  • Slack: Slack has a massive collection of integrations and apps that can help you trigger events or receive notifications using their chat service

  • Jira: Atlassian have created a wealth of apps to connect, enhance and improve their products

Sometimes, it’s easier to piggyback off an existing marketplace to get started, learn how your product is used and benefit from already available APIs and SDKs to save having to build everything from scratch.

With paper-based systems in mind, how could you utilise tools like Slack, Jira, and MS Teams to design, test and validate a potential digital replacement as quickly as possible?

A screenshot of Atlassian Marketplace
Image A screenshot of Atlassian Marketplace