In this paper we present an approach to rapid prototyping of advanced signal processing techniques for future wireless applications currently being adopted within Bell Labs Research. The aim of the "Bell Labs Algorithm Development and Evaluation " (BLADE) initiative is to devise a design framework specifically targeting the needs land capabilities) of high-level algorithm designers (viz. communication engineers), which enables them to quickly, "translate" a research idea into a working real-time system for practical experimentation purposes. The mixed DSP/FPGA implementation of a WCDMA testbed is used as an example to describe our initial experience with the proposed design methodology, which is based on a set of commercially available software tools and a platform consisting of off the shelf hardware modules.