What If...

What:

"What If..." questions are a tool that can be used to help prepare design-thinkers for the needs of a changing market, even to an outrageous extent.

How:

Present you group with a question that addresses a possible change in technological, societal, or cultural level.

As a group, explore the possible outcomes and solutions to these hypothetical questions.

Ex: "What if the local grocery stores were shut down for failing to meet federal health standards regarding facility upkeep?"

Why:

Asking "What If..." questions help design-thinkers prepare for future obstacles, as well as explore the long-term value of their solution.  Evaluating which elements promote sustainability will help prioritize which of those elements is the most valuable.

Design Scenarios

What:

Similar to the "What If..." questions, Design Scenarios are detailed, hypothetical scenarios used to prepare for future needs and explore a specific service offering.

How:

Design Scenarios can be created using a variety of modes, including text, video, or graphic images. 

Research is aggregated and used to construct a scenario that is fully plausible.

Once this scenario is created, character personas can also be brought in to define the effect of the scenario on a specific set of individuals.

Why:

Using Design Scenarios encourage review, analysis, and an understanding of the core factors of the service experience.  Doing this in a group also adds to the available bank of knowledge and promotes exchange between different levels of stakeholders.

Storyboards

storyboards-01-01.png

What:

A storyboard is a presentation of a series of images that are used to document a sequence of events.  The ideas depicted in the storyboard can vary from a common explanation of the usage of the service to a hypothetical scenario describing the implementation of a new service prototype.

How:

The construction of storyboards vary.  One method reflects a comic-strip style, where the storyboard can tell the story sequentially and visualize the cause and effects presented.

The trick is to use as many contextual details as possible when developing the storyboards in a very straight-forward manner.

Why:

Storyboards are self-explanatory in the sense that they transform ideas related to the service experience from thoughts to stories that are much easier to visualize.  These stories add perspective and insight on the future of the service.

In the creation process, service designers are challenged to put themselves into the situation (or into the story) and predict a sequence of events, increasing empathy and understanding of the primary issues at hand.

Co-creation

What:

Co-creation is a universally applicable tool that can be utilized by a varied group of stakeholders to analyze and innovate the service experience.  Co-creation can also be applied with other tools easily, as well.

How:

Co-creation is based on the fundamental elements of "teamwork."  Some barriers to watch out for include:

  • fear of embarrassment
  • reluctance to challenge authority
  • unfamiliarity with co-creation principles

To combat these obstacles, create an environment that has barriers, but no constraining boundaries on participant responses.

After the Co-creation session, the results can be applied to the next stage in the process.

Why:

Co-creation is a way to implement open-source development philosophy into the group work. Co-creation helps aggregate the opinions of many in developing a better service experience.

It is important to note, however, that the results of the Co-creation session are not necessarily based on the group's general consensus.  Instead, the information gathered at the session is used by the design team.

Assessment Criteria

Source

What:

Assessment Criteria is a tool used for judging individual ideas and comparing them to the common criteria to assess how relevant they are to the established criteria.

How:

In a group, decide on the criteria that is most valuable to you in judging individual ideas.  The prioritized criteria list should be organized in a way that individual participants are encouraged to look beyond their own values and consider the opinions of all stakeholders.

When making decisions, score all ideas based on the established criteria.

Why:

Using criteria that has been assessed and agreed upon by the group is useful for considering the opinions of the stakeholders and making decisions based on the values of the group, as a whole.

Choosing A Sample

Source

What:

Choosing A Sample is a design method that prioritizes certain groups of individuals when deciding who would be the most appropriate or effective group of users given a limited time and budget.

How:

List the user attributes that you believe will influence the behaviors involved with your service design.  Then, organize that list based on importance to determine what your most valued attributes are.

Some common attributes to consider include:

  • age
  • life stage
  • ethnicity
  • socio-economic background
  • gender
  • geographical location

The sample you choose should reflect what you want from your users.  Your preferred sample, however, does not have to be representative.  In fact, it should include individuals who relate to your list of preferred attributes to ensure that you are sampling a group of people that reflect your target user.

Why:

Because it is unreasonable to assume that you can research each of your actual users, Choosing A Sample is an effective tool in finding the most appropriate group of individuals to create a sample from.  Using this method saves time and money and is also a fundamental stepping stone for other tools that require an understanding of the user.

Drivers and Hurdles

Source

What:

Drivers and Hurdles is a tool that prioritizes efforts based on the predicted obstacles you will encounter in developing your service design.

How:

Begin by collecting a diverse group of stakeholders.  These participants will work together in brainstorming the barriers (or hurdles) and the motivators (the drivers) of the design's success.  It is best to organize the hurdles and drivers on two separate sheets of paper or using a T-chart.

Take note of what is achievable and what is not based on the barriers. Then establish what motivators can be used to overcome the hurdles.

Why:

Drivers and Hurdles provides a better understanding of people's perspectives and opinions in relation to the rest of the stakeholders.  The group setting can help manage expectations and identify where it is most valuable to concentrate effort.

Hopes and Fears

Source

What:

Hopes and Fears encourages service designers to be wary of the expectations held for the project, as well as makes those expectations easier to achieve.

How:

Collect a group of individuals working on the service design and ask them to verbally express their hopes and fears for the project.

Designate a leader who can organize the group's thoughts on two separate sheets of paper or on a T-chart.  Physically recording them can serve as a reminder throughout the project.

As a group, discuss the outcomes of the exercise and try to analyze which hopes and fears can and cannot be addressed.

It is important to maintain a constructive atmosphere, using respectful language and ensuring that everyone is heard.

Why:

Working as a group to establish goals for the project is extremely beneficial both for the group members and for the service design.  Utilizing the opinions of many in constructing a vision for the future of the project will increase awareness of expectations and provide a guideline.

Brainstorming/ Idea Generation

Source - General Brainstorming

Source - Scribble Say Slap Brainstorming

What:

Brainstorming draws from the idea that working together aggregates information much more quickly and with a wider range of outputted ideas based on its loose construct.  

Specifically, Scribble Say Slap Brainstorming is a group-based exercise that can take a wide range of opinions from a large amount of people with limited time constraints.

How:

In brainstorming, It is critical to keep the ideas flowing! The exercise will be most effective if you keep to these ground rules:

  • Defer judgment - build on ideas to make them better.
  • Don't criticise!
  • One conversation at a time
  • Go for quantity - the more ideas the better
  • Have wild ideas - every idea is valid
  • Stay focused on the problem in hand
  • Be visual - draw ideas or represent them with whatever is to hand. 

Do you best to keep the group under 20 people.  One of these 20 people should be appointed "facilitator."  This Facilitator will lead the group in discussion and maintain order.

One method of brainstorming includes having participants write their ideas on sticky notes (scribble), then shout them out loud (say), and post them on a wall (slap).  Designated helpers should assist the group in posting their ideas onto the brainstorming wall.

After the large group finishes, a smaller group can choose which of the ideas to implement.

Why:

Brainstorming in a group is a great way to aggregate information and ensure that personal bias is not too present in the service design.

User Diaries

Source

What:

User diaries is a design method used to gain insight into people's lives, particularly patterns of behavior of the potential users.

How:

Collect a group of users and ask them to document their lives and their needs by writing a journal, recording with a video camera, or creating a photo diary.  When providing prompts for the users to document, make sure the questions do not lead the user to write in a certain way.  In a sense, keep your opinions out of the question to remove bias and get the truest possible data back from the users.  Users should be given a time limit to this recording (1 week, 1 month etc.)

Why:

User Diaries allow the service design thinkers to gain perspective on the needs of their user to ensure that the solution they present to the community is solving a root issue, not a side-effect.