5,126 prototypes that sucked. And one that didn't.
“There are times in life when people must know when not to let go. Balloons are designed to teach small children this.” - Terry Pratchett
One day a man called James had an idea for a revolutionary type of vacuum cleaner.
He was convinced that it would be a far superior product that would render the existing designs completely obsolete.
In order to prove his idea was more than a pipe dream, however, he needed to convince others by building a working prototype.
Shortly after completing his first mock-up, he realised he had a long journey ahead. It was, to put it kindly, completely hopeless.
There were so many problems with it that he knew he’d need to build a number of prototypes and tackle each issue as he progressed.
By the time he’d made his 15th prototype his third child had been born.
By the 2,627th prototype he was quickly running out of money.
By prototype number 3,727 his wife was forced to get a job to make ends meet.
Fortunately for him, it went on to become very successful and provided him the credibility to launch many more products which eventually propelled him to billionaire status.
Hopefully you will not require as many prototypes to solve your given problem but James’ tale illustrates that trial and error (in the form of prototyping) is an unavoidable component of arriving at the optimum solution.