Scenarios and storytelling.

Random thought about scenarios. Lots of different times, in lots of different companies; I’ve been in the situation where scenarios are being generated in break-out groups in a workshop, then brought back to the larger group for presentation and criticism.

Now – this type of work is only ever rough-scoping work, and it would be risky to base design work on it without more criticism or validation, but as it’s at the top of the funnel of product or service development often. And also more often than not – it’s done in ‘kick-off’ meets where stakeholders and project influencers who might be so heavily involved in the detailed work further along. So it can have a big influence.

Looking back, I’m wondering how much performance and storytelling influence the creation of scenarios in these situations. That is, when we brainstorm, as social animals, rather than objectively shaping scenarios for further development – how much are we looking for approval and engagement with our stories and ideas from those present?

Related: discussion about persona-driven design and the creation of personas on CHI-WEB.

  1. Ant said:

    I can see where you’re coming from and have had doubts about where the persona or user’s ‘motivations’ lay myself. Are they what we’d like to think this archetype does, or is it what they really do? I guess you have to find comfort in ye olde ‘Doing it this way is better than wild stabs in the dark’.

    However, increasingly I find comfort in having a psychologist-type on hand when defining vacarious ‘motivation’. According to if that person is a) someone who tests users frequently and therefore can make more educated guesses than those who don’t, or b) an ethnographer or even c) a dinky-dye psychologist, it gives me comfort in ascending order.

    Recently I used a psychologist/therapist to help with profiling and story telling on a freelance job. The level of accuracy and insight she was able to give was very reassuring. Police have been using them to profile serial killers for 20-30 years now. Maybe they make a good asset to a design team too?

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