April 8, 2010
This is an exercise that is great to help a large group of people feel like they have a say in a project, and generate ideas from many different perspectives in an organization. It was adapted from Todd Zaki Warfel’s book Prototyping: A Practitioner’s Guide.
Materials & Requirements
- Pre-printed sketchboard template, 8-up and 1-up variations
- Pencils with erasers
- Optional: Post-it notes and other additional tools for creative prototyping
- Optional: Easel-sized post it notes for larger group collaboration (with sharpies)
- Enough space or rooms for people to work in smaller groups without the noise becoming disruptive
A minimum of 1.5 hours is required, and a large group can take upwards 4 hours. It may take more time for larger groups; additional time allows for increased exploration and collaboration.
- Set an 8-up sketchboard template and pencil at each place where someone will be sitting.
- Instruct them that they have to come up with 6 or more prototype ideas for the problem at hand (e.g. a home page, a critical sub page, an application) on the sheet. They should do rough sketches with text and minimal annotation. Encourage them that anyone can sketch, and to use basic shapes (rectangles, lines, circles, triangles, arrows) if they feel challenged.
- Set a time limit. For the first round, 10 minutes or so is fine.
- Start the clock, and allow them to sketch. Game show or other similar music can add to the experience.
- At the end of the time limit, have each person pair up with someone who is not a member of their department of organization.
- Allow them to spend time presenting their ideas to each other, then critiquing those ideas. 2 minutes for presentation and 3 minutes for critique should be sufficient for each person (10 minutes total.)
- While the discussion is taking place, hand out a 1-up sketchboard templates to each group.
- Have them collaborate on a new prototype sketch using the 1-up sketchboard template.
- Repeat steps 4 through 8, but each time have the groups combine into new groups that are twice the size of the previous. Groups of 2 become groups of 4, groups of 4 become groups of 8, and so on.
- Note: With larger groups, you may want easel size sticky notes for later prototypes, or have technology in place (digital camera or document projector) to display the prototypes on the screen.
- Once you are down to 2 – 4 large groups, do presentations and critiques for the entire group.
- Collect the sketches for review by your team.