Sketchnotes from Bloomberg's Tech Week
Catching up on putting these on the blog... Great talk by Bruce Mau @ Freeman. He has a great story, and a such a positive outlook on being a designer. Let the work speak for itself... never get caught up in the politics or what the talking heads have to say about what you do.
Last week I sketchnoted to Vincent from Magnific's excellent talk on growth hacking. He presented a series of clever ways to grow your brand/product, build your users, and connect to them. Most methods were highly accessible and scrappy... for the people.
People often ask what they should do with a stack of data that they want to mine for insights. (think primary observations or secondary online research)
Having just read John Kolko's book, Exposing the Magic of Design, I thought I would share one tried and true methid. Let's talk Clustering. I took his ~7 step approach and sketched out a "how to" reference to help you out in your next endeavor to sort through the noise and find insights.
In a nutshell, clustering is a great method to organize and make sense of a lot of observations / insights / single pieces of data. Data becomes information. Information becomes knowledge. What I really like about his method of clustering, is that he encourages clusters of 8x or more to be broken into smaller clusters. I also like the fact that there is a distinct, "record and normalize" step, so that all of the great learnings from the clustering session can be shared...something that is often overlooked.
A few weeks ago I had the honor to Sketchnote at the Manifesto Conference in SF. It was a lot of content to visually stay on top of with ~7 speakers throughout the day.
A few observations of the speakers... (1) Overall excellent. Each talk had several salient points that were important, but all fell under a single overarching theme. (2) Origin stories make talks more interesting. It helps to set the context of how somebody came to where they are. (3) As hardwired as we are to love origin stories to start with, a general overview. Knowing what you are getting into is also helpful. It is similar to knowing what the score of a game is before you watch it... it gives you something to look forward to.
A few observations of my sketchntotes (1) Warm-ups are so important! Unless I am drawing every day for 4+ hours a day, I need a warm-up. A warm specific to sketchnoting is the most useful as it puts you in the right zone to do real time synthesis. A good day of opportunity for this is to note the hellos and introductions that a conference starts with. (2) Paper works better than white boards, as the drawing tools are so much better. Yes, I know you cannot erase, but working with paper feels so natural. (3) In terms of audience engagement... simply put, more people should be sketchnoting. I would glance behind me and see a sizable portion of conference attendees on their phones or even napping. Sketchnoting is such a robust way to remember what you heard, and a great resource to refer back to.
Take a look at a few of my sketchnotes I managed to take snaps of. If you were one of the people at the conference with a big camera taking professional photos of these... can we connect?
I just got back from a couple of weeks in the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. As you might have guessed, we visited several cities that were overflowing with tourists... tourists snapping photos with phones, big SLRs and with dreaded selfie-sticks.
There is research that shows writing is much better for long term memory than typing. It has something to do with the real-time synthesis of deciding what is important enough to capture and what should be left out. As typing is much quicker to record in verbatim, whereas writing is much slower and personal. I will take this a step further and hypothesize that the same holds true for photos vs sketching. Cameras capture everything in a fraction of a second. Point (sort of), click, and there you have it. Doing a sketch, you sit down, take it in and make very conscious decisions about what to record, as you could never record every little detail... there would be no hierarchy.
There are certainly other things to say about the depth and detail of this architecture there vs the US, but for now, I just wanted to share a few sketches. From a technical perspective, most took between 3-15 minutes and were drawn with Medium Flair Pen.
Next week I will be sketchnoting at Manifesto on 03/31 at the Palace of Fine Arts in SF (apparently there are still a few tix left). I got to thinking, what types of talks make for the best sketchnotes? Typically, good talks make for good sketchnotes. Three points come up over an over again that work.
1. Have a clear presentation structure and do not hop around all over the place. Think about how you are delivering your information and how new information builds on what you have already told us.
2. A Goldilocks amount of information! If you just wrote a book, do not try and give a full synopsis of every chapter and every point in 15 minutes. Think about the write amount of information humans can absorb on the given time, and a few key points you want your audience to remember.
3. Lastly, have an overall theme to your presentation. This means that every point you make should come back to the major driving theme of your talk. If it does not relate, consider cutting it.
WAY back in 2012 I worked on a seasoning/herb packaging project for Gourmet Garden. We did a kitchen ethnography session yielding the insight that ... people like to sprinkle on seasonings with their fingers. I know, it seems pretty obvious, but little wins can have big impacts. The best insights seem obvious in retrospect, too. Fast forward to now. I found the finished product on shelf at Safeway. It only took 4 years...
A few weeks ago, I sketchnoted a talk by Ken Hill. It reall resonated with me, as I have a background in racing road bikes (no motors). So much of what I learned in life and use on a day to day basis came from racing bikes. Ken summed it up great in three points.
1. Always have a plan for the day / ride / race / project. Beyond that, have a goal in your plan. Sometimes a plan is as simple as being present. For all goals, make sure they are achievable, measurable, and challenging enough!
2. Pick three vital points to focus on. Just three! Any more than that, and you will lose focus and peanutbutter your cognitive resources.
3. Always look where you want to go, but do not lose sight on where you are now. This is how crashes happen! All you can see is one step ahead, but you fail to see your present position or vice versa. In fact, I often experience people living inside of a losing chess game, where they only see one step ahead and never anything else! How often is your project focused on a single functional benefit, but misses the emotional connection to make with consumers? How often are you passed by a car on your bike, only so they can beat you to a red light?
I was recently asked the question "Where is the opportunity to innovate?" The above illustration shows an over-simplified set of methods to identify some of the opportunity spaces, highlighting the areas to bring innovative ideas to market. By combining a few structured methods with the results leading into the next, you can start to build your gut and make educated decisions on what areas you want to spend your time and resources to create those new ideas. I have run this activity several times with product development teams, and successfully identified where the opportunity spaces are given our specific category expertise. With a little prep work, you can go through this set of methods in a few hours.
Of course, this just identifies the opportunity spaces. We still need to find a consumer insight or unmet need as a starting point to make our idea successful. See my last post on 4X scenarios of ideas that lead to success.
Here is a quick sketchnote outlining the four most common scenarios for successful innovation. Sometimes a mix several can work, too.
One of my favorite structured design methods is the 5Es. This method helps to understand how a product or service might fit the life of a user over 5x time-based touchpoints. This particular example looks at an overview of a workplace change strategy. The blue and purple paths illustrate two different user experiences.
Sonic Hosted a great workshop on ritual. Coming out of it... what makes a ritual a ritual?
(1) Sequentiality // Specific order to the steps
(2) Inclusion (or exclusion) into a group
(3) Shared meaning // by those included
Alex Witowski spoke last month at Hardware Massive in Oakland on the topic of patent law. It was a great learning experience. Personally, I have something like 8 patents and often use patent searches for inspiration. I also feel that patents are quite stifling and most of the patents I review (which are typically single use plastic things) really surprises me that they were given in the first place. But, on the flipside, a patent is a reward for your invention.
Last night we looked at redesigning healthcare Petcha Kutcha style. There were some great presentations last night from some very smart designers and researchers from ...
- Katherine Duong & Alexis Turim, Kaiser Permanente's Innovation Consultancy
- Emily Abell and James Taylor, Athena Health
- Izac Ross, Senior designer at Collective Health
- Cale Peeples, Head of Design at Grand Rounds
Great talk given by Audrey from DesignMap about taking direction from the back of a napkin. The problem is... the napkin is too often a solution and jumps to the end of the story. She went over a few strategies for digging deeper on napkin direction and finding alignment on the problem @hand.
Last week, former grad-school classmate from ID and current Strategist @ GravityTank, Lauren Braun, put on a great workshop. We explored some structured methods to generate ideas on the future of transportation. Some good ideas to emerge included... reserving a space on BART for an upcharge during rush hours, dynamic boarding signage to distribute passengers and organize via specific on/off stops, autopay without getting your wallet out and what about just adding trash cans to the cars/stations?
I noted a talk given the CMO of Lyft this past week at the Yelp Building in SOMA. All work done on a dry-erase board... oh the luxury of erasing...
I want to share some of the design methods I have been using and/or developed over the past few years. To start with I want to look at a method called Paper Dolling. I originally saw this method at an IDSA conference WAY back in 2002. The example used was to find insights and preferences on where to place buttons on the upcoming Playstation controller.
HOW IT WORKS // A sheet of button or logo options is printed out on sticker paper.
Users are asked to place the sticker where they think the new feature should go.
BEST FOR // This method works best for small refinements or exploring added features with a focus group. Also works for internal design teams to explore real world design details.
OUTPUT // After asking a large enough sample to participate, the team has a general idea of where the feature would fit best.