Thursday, January 20, 2011

Drawing And telling Stories During a Compressed Workshop

This week, several colleagues and I had a three day workshop to start the design process for a new product. Nothing new. We do that all the time. However, this time we were on a compressed time schedule where we had limited time to capture our ideas and turn them into stories.

On day three of the workshop we split into multiple teams to create a high level story within 45 minutes. Normally we take the time to draw detailed stories to communicate the story, the principles and the ideas. Such detailed stories may look like the image below.

Since we had no time to draw stories in the comic strip format using tools in an electronic document, we just started drawing the comic strips on the white board. It helped us formulated the story of a person who needed to get something done.

We had a challenge. How do we take this story, in the form of a comic strip drawn on the white board, quickly to the workshop room? We decided to take a picture of the white board and email the picture to a colleague. We then showed then projected the picture on the wall to explain the story. It was received well by  all participants.

Later we could print the photos and add them to PowerPoint slides for presentation and storage purposes. It took a bit of image processing to ensure that the prints were clear.

It does not matter even if you have limited drawing skills. Drawing liberates the thinking of the team creating the drawing and the opens up the minds of people who see the drawing. Give it a try. It works well even for heavily compressed workshops.
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