What’s the difference between a Prototype and Pilot?

Both are risk mitigation techniques that involve taking ideas, products and services outside the organisation to get feedback from real users, but where prototyping and piloting differ is when they are used in the product development process.


Prototypes are used during the design phase to test ideas and potential solutions before investing time and money in building a product or service. Prototypes can range in fidelity and focus. They can present a single aspect of a product or multiple parts of a service experience depending on what the research seeks to learn.


Pilots are used during the delivery phase of a product to trial with real users in order to find the most common service breakdowns and those that will lead to the majority of customer complaints and dissatisfaction. Pilots help to understand these failures and identify which should be resolved before the product or service launches.