A PoC and a prototype are both ways of testing an idea or a product before investing more time and resources into it, but they have some key differences. A PoC stands for proof of concept, which is a method of validating assumptions with target users and checking if your idea is feasible technically. A prototype is a working model of the end solution, which is used to test the usability or visual functionality of the product.
The main difference between a PoC and a prototype is that a PoC focuses on proving that the core feature or technology of the product can work, while a prototype focuses on showing how the product will look and feel to the users. A PoC is usually small, simple, and incomplete, while a prototype is more complex, realistic, and functional. A PoC is used for internal purposes, while a prototype is used for external feedback. A PoC is often hard-coded, has mock APIs and basic UI controls, while a prototype has more refined code, design, and features.
For example, if you have an idea for a new mobile app that uses voice recognition to control smart devices, you might create a PoC that shows that your app can recognize voice commands and send them to the devices. You might use a simple microphone and speaker interface and a mock API to simulate the device connection. This would help you validate that your idea is technically possible and has some value. Then, you might create a prototype that shows how your app will look and interact with the users. You might use a visual drawing tool or a prototyping software to create a more realistic UI and UX for your app. This would help you test how your users will react to your product and what issues they might have.
A PoC and a prototype are both important steps in the innovation process, as they help you explore and validate your ideas before investing too much time and money into them. A PoC can help you prove that your idea is possible and worth pursuing, while a prototype can help you test and improve how your idea works and performs in real-world scenarios. By using both methods, you can reduce the risks of failure and increase the chances of success for your product.