As someone who is actively developing a series of solutions to help fight against COVID-19, I think it’s safe to say that the global crisis presents a paradigm shift in the way we prototype.
Amidst the pandemic, the questions we should now be asking ourselves are:
1. First and foremost, how fast can the solution be deployed? What corners can be safely cut in order to launch the first version even quicker?
In many ways, it’s not unlike creating a minimum viable product (MVP) in pre-COVID times. However, there is less tolerance for error in what we choose to release now. Also, effectiveness should come before aesthetics.
2. What materials or resources are required for deployment? Would reliance on them lead to a new wave of shortages? And if so, are there any feasible alternatives?
3. How many people can benefit from the solution? If there is potential to boost that number now or in the future, then excellent! Ultimately though, helping *someone* is better than helping *no one*.
In other words, avoid dwelling on this question for too long. Go ahead and implement your prototype even if it will only be helpful to a small group of people at the beginning.
4. How well will the solution scale? Is there room for expansions or even spin-offs when this is all over? If so, great!
Like #3 though, go ahead regardless. After all, the priority here is to defeat the pandemic. Besides, just as in normal times, a product for everyone is a product for no one.
5. What are some financing options? Whilst I don’t recommend profiting off of commercializing anti-COVID solutions, there are quite a few funding streams that will help accelerate the realization of your social missions. (Just watch out for scams.)