Diagnostic in detail
After the presentation, people’s creative ideas should be flowing! It’s time to get them all down. Here are a couple of ideation techniques you could use to capture the ideas.
You might like to use big sheets of paper and have a scribe who runs round whilst people talk; you might like to get individuals to write ideas onto sticky post-it notes. At this stage, quantity of ideas is important! Then go through them all as a group, clustering ideas. The headings for clustered ideas, or the big sheets of paper might be broad (eg. artistic product, operations, audience development, business models). Questions people should try and answer in relation to the headings are:
- In an ideal, money-is-no-object world, what do you want to achieve? (Refer to your business model audit.)
- What, generally do you want to achieve? (e.g. thinking about audience development – more audience, more global participation, etc.)
- Referring to your digital IP audit, what entirely new opportunities are there? (think about ideas you could produce, but also consider who else could innovate new opportunities – for example, if you opened up your organisation’s data through an API, etc. Watch a case study about Edinburgh Festivals’ API development)
- What are your current digital/IT needs in these areas? (Refer to your digital technology and digital proficiency audits.)
- What new, hidden or unsatisfied customer needs might you solve (refer to any customer/stakeholder auditing you did)
- What if…? (asking the most provocative questions in relation to your organisation might unleash some great ideas and debate! If I was a bank for example, a very provocative question to ask might be… What if… individuals could lend money to each other rather than borrowing from banks?)
- How could digital technologies enhance or facilitate these aims? If you use digital technologies to solve a need, does the solution still fit well with your (organisation’s) mission?
Another useful technique is to create user-state journeys in groups. Each group should take on the identity of a typical existing user of the organisation. You could give that user a name, age and brief description (“Suzy is a 38 year old mother of 2 under 5’s. She currently enjoys coming to our café, buys all her presents at our shop and when she can get a baby sitter brings her husband along to the Christmas show.”) Suzy is the user, her description is her state. The journey she is to go on is in a year’s time, when the organisation has implemented the digital developments just brainstormed. Think about what the user wants to do and why, what aspects of that happen digitally, and what aspects of that interaction with your organisation are newly digital or enhanced by digital. Telling stories encourage listeners to consider new possibiities.
Resistance is a common reaction to a new idea, so describing it a way that emphasises the features and benefits might be the way that you engage people with the new vision! You could create and tell a story of a day in life of … Suzy, etc. For an example, see Hannah Rudman’s video of a story told in 2009 for a Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, projecting a vision of what things might be like in 2011 (which is now in the past – so you can text whether she was right!) The 2011 story.
As you tell the stories to each other, the digital and IT needs to make the ideas possible should be teased out and noted down under the broad headings. Someone should then write-up all the ideas captured under the broad headings. These should then be shared with the team.
Rapid Prototyping & testing ideas
If your digital developments are related to services offered by your organisation, or for audiences, you might find additional exercises to help you think about new products and services in the Service Design Toolkit, by design agency Snook - the exercises and tools to help you design and walk through services will help you mock up/prototype and test and analyse your new ideas with your audiences, without you needing to risk a great deal of time and money. Remember too that an idea’s failure can teach you how better to progress, so undertaking some of these exercises that enable rapid design and prototyping might just be for you!
If your digital development ideas are focussed around digital engagement, you might find working through the Digital Engagement Framework a useful exercise.
You might want to use a fresh Business Model Canvas (the same tool that we used in the audit your business model section of The AmbITion Approach), and complete with the new ideas to show the new products, services, offers, customers and business models.