I attended the Winnipeg IIBA chapter meeting where we reviewed the Stanford Design School’s Design Methods. The presentation itself was quite well done. We ended up splitting into pairs and went through the nine steps in the process. For our session we used the ‘gift-giving’ experience as a situation we could explore with the Stanford Design School’s Design Methods.
The Nine Steps
The Nine Steps in the Stanford Design School’s Design Methods are:
1) Interview – Use your interview skills to discover information about last gift giving experience
2) Dig Deeper – Dig Deeper in your second interview and try to focus on motivations for the gift giving experience
3) Capture Findings – Review the Finding and try to document the needs and insights discovered
4) Define Problem Statement – Define the problem statement discovered
5) Sketch – Draw at least 5 radical ways to meet the user’s need and address problem statement.
6) Share – Share your radical solutions and gather feedback from the user
7) Reflect – Reflect based on the feedback gathered and generate a new solution
8) Build – Build a prototype of your solution physically that the user can interact with
9) Review – Learn from your user playing with the prototype. What worked? What should be changed?
I liked the process. In many ways the process reinforces the principles of short feedback loops in Agile and working in iterations. I have seen similar methods being used in Paper Prototyping and UX Design Studio. These hands on design methods work and engage the user.
I’m not sure if having a separate step to focus on Empathy and motivations result in greater client empathy though. Empathy is a personal relationship. Sometimes a 1-1 interview is a hard place to build empathy. Some users may not feel comfortable sharing their motivations face to face. Some users may not even be aware of all their motivations. Just telling people to interview to determine motivations probably won’t be successful.
So what to do?
Luckily we have the methods of Silent Brainstorming and Innovation Games to help uncover empathy and motivations. Unlike interviewing, these are different methods that allow lateral thinking to get to the motivations easier. I like to say they get you to the ‘why’ instead of the ‘what’
Innovation Games does this by the use of different metaphors. The metaphors use the psychological concept of projection. Projection is the process of people finding it easier to transfer their thoughts and feelings to another object instead of talking about themselves. This was typically done for the first time in Kindergarten when we had Show and Tell. Show and Tell is a great method to learn more about kids and their thoughts and feelings. With Show and Tell, kids will share how the toys makes them feel and not just describe the toy. This helps us get to the ‘Why?’
It is also a great exercise to get kids comfortable with talking in front of other kids as well. 🙂
Designing too early?
In fact you may say that by asking what people want without asking them why we may be jumping to solution mode. If we know why, the what could be changed. Maybe the what they asked for is just one possibility.
Shameless Plug – I will be presenting on Innovation Games at the next Agile Winnipeg User’s Group on May 14th. Register and come check out other methods to discover Empathy. We will play 2-3 Innovation Games and hopefully learn about each other. 🙂