19.Dec 2023

How to start prototyping – evaluation of funding round 12

In order to learn what makes a project successful at the Prototype Fund and what type of funding supports them best, we regularly talk to our grantees. This time, the aim was to find out how they developed their project ideas before applying and how they implemented them during the funding period. Here are three insights that we can pass on to you:

1. Many ideas arise from personal experience or are sparked in exchange with others.

Most of the grantees in funding round 12 had been working in their project‘s field of application long before applying for the Prototype Fund – some of them out of private interest, some in the context of paid or voluntary work. The most valuable source of inspiration and information for many of them was informal exchange with their personal network.

2. New projects usually build on what already exists.

Many of the projects funded in round 12 were linked to existing open source software. They are innovative, nevertheless, because they explore new technological approaches to adding to existing open source software (e. g. Generalisierung von OpenStreetMap-Daten mit osm2pgsql and XRevent Broadcaster) or because they aim at improving existing software through a fundamental redesign (z. B. Alli – Begleitung bei der medikamentösen Schwangerschaftsbeendigung, Leerstandsmelder – Für mehr Transparenz und neue Möglichkeitsräume und Weiterentwicklung von foodsoft).

3. Participating in the Prototype Fund clarifies your ideas.

Project ideas had been swirling around in the heads of many of the grantees for a long time, and they didn‘t fundamentally change them for the Prototype Fund. When applying, they rather narrowed their ideas down or specified their technical plans for implementing them. Some grantees also became more aware of the societal benefit of their project or generalised their ideas in order to make them applicable in various contexts and to reduce technological dependencies. During the funding period, adjustments of the project schedules and technical implementation were often necessary. However, these adjustments led to more concrete plans rather than fundamental changes.

You can find more information in the evaluation report on funding round 12 (available only in German). It tells you who applied and received funding, on which topics projects were submitted and selected, what became of them after the funding ended, and what the Prototype Fund team has recently improved or could improve in the future.

How to start prototyping – evaluation of funding round 12