No Story, No Glory!

No Story, No Glory!

Ianus Keller asked me to put together a workshop on the creation of scenarios and/or storyboards as part of a series of extra curricular workshops organized to close the gaps students are feeling in their chosen paths, studying at the Delft University of Technology.
I did not have to think long to come up with a general premise for this class, which is why  I started  the first real explorations with an extra ordinary  host: Pieter-Jan Stappers, professor of design techniques at the faculty of Industrial Design in Delft.
thinkingwith pieterjan
Now with some 11 years of design experience of my own we were able to fly-over and dive deep  into the subject of storyboarding or telling user stories. We ended up covering most of the Whiteboard walls in STUDIO TALK, which by the end of our exploration was exactly the skill we wanted the students to (re)-discover. Being able to explore a general idea and find focus by making the start-up process visible and clearly articulate what it is you want to design for whom, is something that even designers still have trouble with. It is however the start of any good design story…so this is why we ended up settling on creating a workshop for groups to find their SHARED STORY and move from being a group of individuals to a DESIGN TEAM with a shared goal and story to realize!

[Writing this now, I realize that we strayed from the given scenario path, driven by a shared frustration of students nowadays attacking any problem with a laptop… The faculty used to be filled with hands on practical MacGYVERS, which seems to have ‘evolved’ into some sort of  an IT-Lounge filled with networked designers. To bring back some HANDY WORK into the way master students start up their design challenges together, logic and practicality takes over to help these design “experts-to-be” pick up a pen and get to the wall… to explore, funnel, discuss, test and improve their ability to think out loud and CREATE at the wall …TOGETHER.]

When going into any kind of process with people you do not really know, it is time well spent focusing on creating  a shared idea and finding the path that fits the team. A DESIGN story will help focus a group to make conscious decisions during the design process itself and give direction to the path to be taken by the different experts in the group. Along the way all the intricate detailed work done by the members of the team needs to connect to the overarching AIM of their DESIGN story. The ability to be flexible in your focus (FLEXIBLE FOCUS) will give a team the opportunities to test and fail early. Improving every time.
flexible focus1

But now for the workshop:

The simplest way of getting a group to function like a team is to make them go through some sort of high pressure make-session… forcing them to pick up a pen and draw out their challenge… like MACGYVER used to do drawing a plan in the sand or Doc Brown in back to the future with his “crude”models of how he was going to send marty back to the future. The objective of this workshop was hidden in its practice. By experiencing the value of drawing out thinking and allowing the group to build upon what is made visible, you are creating a shared story!
In the morning the group found common ground sourced from their own likes and dislikes. If you are totally free to chose your own design…what pain do you solve…together? We explored the unique contexts of 8 groups and what their proposed successes will look like for their stakeholders. This created a shared focus that would guide the group in a high pressure design process in the afternoon. By mapping out current and future desired states you frame your own design space…a luxury not to be underestimated for designers… Something that hopefully these groups will have experienced and will use in future projects…

flexible focus

This workshop was made possible in fact by the FLEXIBLE FOCUS of the day. The overarching AIM of the day was to experience the creation of a shared design narrative using visual techniques, which were shared mostly in the final half hour when all the stories started to result in abstract designs. The small tips and troicks can only be shared when you run into real little barriers. This waqs a great way to share some of my experiences in translating thinking into visuals.
The day ended with a 15 minute run through of all the stories AND a little feedback. Courtisy of Pieter-Jan! Check it out:
 


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For more pictures of the process : https://goo.gl/photos/wtxPAD8jkaDjP1NH9

4D THINKING

Sometimes you just have to map stuff out on the walls. In this instance the engineering bureau of the city of the Hague needed to map out their efforts against the vision of a dune area. A participatory process needed to come together… starting point… the wall!
…en in een keer viel alles op z’n plek…;). Mooi werk Ellen, Joanne & Klaas!
 

A beautiful day at the TU

A beautiful day at the TU

On the 10th of Febuary JAM organised the now fifth edition of the “Generic & Professional Skill”-communication module at the Delft University of Technology. The day was impeccably organised by Jefta Bade and Freya Ruis of JAM. This year they stretched the available time to work with the Master students with half a day! Which meant that the instruction part, the Dare2Draw session in the big college hall, was given the day before! This left us with 1 whole day and 30 hungry design minds to tackle the problem of making visual translations of real client cases. Because of my current position at T-mobile, I was able to bring them in as my client. This resulted in a great diversity of vision mapping the problem spaces around their organisational ambition of becoming a more HUMAN company.
What makes this event different for me this year is two fold. This is the first time after my exit from JAM that I am back working with them again. This year I did not have to do or organise anything… just experience the event. I must say that the curve of excellence keeps on going up. There was a great and easy flow during the whole day; something all the participants must have felt. If this keeps on going like it is, JAM will take over the whole week within 3 years…;).
The other change is the fact that I now get to bring the results back to T-Mobile myself and see how they can be used to get a discussion going about the issues surrounding a more HUMAN focus.  I get to take these amazing visuals and put them in their intended context… see if they actually can be used to create some form of real impact. I will have to keep you posted on that one.
For now here is an impression of my part of the day, facilitating the T-mobile group to some great perspectives.
And Thanx to JAM for inviting me to carry on being a part of this program!
Vy
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/ripplevision/sets/72157648444585363/

…then everybody can play!

…then everybody can play!

…facing the big ocean of possibility when I turn my back to JAM, I jump in with the bagage of 10 Years of building a company that has been getting ready for the new human way of operating. Ironically  this new way of working revealed a separate door for myself. A door that once taken allows me to run free and splash around in the water again, like the green water buffalo I am…
After my focus to get VY going, the first wave of interaction has been with my loved ones. It takes more time at home to realise how important your presence can be in your most direct surroundings. I can feel this most when I am fixing things around the house while the kids are playing. Involving them in what I am doing is a big challenge when you want things to go in a certain way. And to make this challenge even greater I got to go on a field trip with Elsa and Svea and all of the 1st and 2nd graders of the Nutsschool in Wassenaar. My task was simple… manage, guide,take care of 4 girls in the coolest place to explore things, the ONTDEKHOEK in Amsterdam. This taught me one very important lesson… just let them go… and ride the wave! Trying to channel the desires of 5 little vectors who go in different directions at individual speeds is impossible if you want to ENJOY their uninhibited creative fire. In this place there were no rules…which meant everybody could play!
The daily activities that keep me going are meeting up with friends who have been standing on the horizon for far too long. Meeting and reflecting with those who either speak my language, or know how to challenge it, has been a great way to see what comes out when they start to ask me the question behind the question. What are you going to do and where are you going to start? This is where I end up saying something vague about drawing BIG… That something is what I need to explore more.
You can find one of the fuelling initiatives at the campaign for drawing.
the first waves have been created… who wants to get wet?
vy
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