Design Jam London 2 – a more structured design process

This is my second London Design Jam. I am hooked. The idea of working with designers, business analysts, developers, entrepreneurs, strategists with varying experiences to build a product prototype in 4.5 hours sends tingles down my spine. I love a good creative challenge!

When I arrived, I grabbed coffee and the challenge was revealed:

Design a mobile service to help visitors to London ‘become local’ – to discover and connect with the city in a meaningful way.

There were 3 key lessons from the first London Design Jam back in November 2010 I wanted to make sure I nailed this time round:

  1. Structure creative ideation for speedy results
  2. Quickly focus ideas down to one killer app
  3. Usability test that ‘minimum viable’, ‘minimum delightful’ rapid prototype

From my previous experience, teams spent too much time coming up with ideas without validating them with ‘real’ consumers. Little time is also left for the actual creation of the prototype. A London Underground ‘malfunction’ meant I had time on a bus to sketch out some ideation methods on cards:

10:00 – 11:45
Research & Explore

Having sketched ideation methodologies on cards meant our team, Red Banana-nana, were able to show good progress 1 hour 45 minutes into the challenge. At the Interim presentation/feedback session we managed to show how we:

  • Grouped ideas under clear headings using affinity mapping (duration 45 minutes)
  • Created empathy maps and validated our 3 personas by interviewing 3 people who have had interesting local travel experiences in the past (duration 35 minutes)
  • Made a start, sketching user journeys (duration 25 minutes)
  • Saw other teams also dot vote, card sort, cover story, poster session their early ideas!
ideation in action

Ideation cards help to structure and speed up our thinking, knowing what to do next was vital

13:15 – 14:45
15:00 – 16:00
Design phase

After lunch where I struggled for 30 minutes to try and get wifi connection working on my mac (and failed), we spent this time narrowing our ideas; focussing on key interactions and most importantly validating assumptions with real users.

The team:

  • Without Wifi, could not get my cunning plan to use LiveView Screencaster to broadcast a prototype of what we are building onto my iphone :-(
  • Decided to focus on a key persona :

    “as a business traveller with a smart phone I want to get the best local recommendation for something I want to do so I can be instantly gratified and save time”

  • Defined the elevator pitch and brand name of the app:

    “Travel Buddy gives travellers to London ONE trusted local recommendation to satisfy their immediate needs”

  • Briefly validated our value proposition using the Business Model Canvas mapping it back to our customer relationship with the business traveller
  • Created Interaction models and wire-frames using the 6 up method to come up with up to six interaction flows before narrowing it down to one we wanted to show and tell
  • Conducted guerilla usability testing the user interaction screens with as many people as possible using our paper prototype
Wireframes and interactions

Wireframes and interactions

Empathy map of a business traveller

Empathy map of a business traveller

16:00 – 17:30
Presentation

We spent this time justifying our proposed solution as follows:

  • Business justification (who is it for, what makes us different) (2 minutes)
  • Our processed summarised using the wiki and the sketch cards
  • Simple paper prototype walk through as the user
  • Q and A (3 minutes)

In summary

There were many great ideas and I left feeling I had set out to do what I wanted which was to try and speed up the ideation process using some element of structured game-play (Game Storming). The goal for the next Design Jam is to create a stronger more unique proposition and be able to showcase this back with more than just a paper prototype. Our idea was solid and we even got complimented at the very end saying that a similar but less attractive proposition won an award in 2009, being incorporated into the Samsung phone OS (tonight.eu). High praise indeed. However as we all know being first to market counts for a lot. Making it social is even more attractive. How do you in 4.5 hours create something truly unique? A question to attack the next time.

Thanks to:

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