Future workshop -create visions and find solutions

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Be creative in a future workshop

The future workshop is a useful method to involve users in your designprocess.

As I written in some of my blog posts: to design a great User Experience you need to involve the users. You have to involve users from the start of the design process. Future workshop is a way for you to collaborate with users and identify the problems in the current situation. After you have identified a vision and also solutions to the problem that will lead to the vision.

vision in a future workshop

A future workshop consists of three phases:

  1. Critique
  2. Fantasy
  3. Implementation

It’s important that you involve people that are affected by your design project, mainly user. It might also be other designers in the project or system developers. The workshop will help explain the current situation and also to generate ideas that will lead to a new and better situation.

Preparation

If your workshop is going to be successful, you or someone you pick need to facilitate. It’s important that you set a maximum time limit for each stage.  You have to try to involve some of the people that are affected by the present situation and that will be affected by the solution (your design).

Effectuation

Critique phase

You perform a brainstorming session with the purpose to identify problems in the current situation. No talking, all participants write down the problems they have identified. As facilitator you set the time and also stop the session when time is up.

When you finished the brainstorming, put the problems together in related areas and display them so all participants can see them.

Fantasy phase

In this phase, you let everyone brainstorm about how the “perfect situation” should be. It’s important that it’s free to imagine here, no restrictions. I recommend you to begin with answers to turn some of the identified problems into positive statements. Another tips is that you ask the participants how the situation could be if everything was “perfect” and let them brainstorm about that. What possibilities will lie in the future?

You can do so in two ways: each participator writes down their ideas, or let everyone speak out loud and you take notes.

After the brainstorming, let all participators vote for their favourites. Chose the most popular ideas and let small groups work with them to describe them in more detail.

Let the smaller groups present their ideas to the rest of the participators

Implementation phase

In this phase, should you look deeper and discuss if the ideas are possible to develop. Are they realistic?

Analyse constraints and other obstacles to reach the vision of the future. Which ideas are feasible to implement?

Last thing you need to make in the workshop is to write down solutions to reach the chosen vision. Create a plan with tasks and activities.

Future workshop

Summary

When you do a future workshop you have a great opportunity to involve users in the design process. It is also a great way to develop a vision for the future. All participators are involved and get a chance to contribute. You also get a chance to analyze the future situation and make a first implementation plan.

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4 Replies to “Future workshop -create visions and find solutions”

  1. As soon as I ran into your article, I was excited to get through it. I am always working on projects and user experience is really important to me. so I knew I was going to learn a lot of useful info here.

    I would have to agree preparation is absolutely necessary when having others involved with crafting a user experience. Many times a lot of time is wasted and that can all be saved and used productively if preparation was focused on.

    I really like the idea of having people write down critiques of the problem at hand rather than have them speak about it orally or brainstorm at this crucial step. Efficiency was kept in mind when you decided to lead your readers to have the people write down critiques.

    I think for the “fantasy phase” brainstorming works really well because people get an opportunity to build off other people’s ideas and I see a quicker construction of a solid plan forming when people brainstorm at this key phase in the process.

    This future workshop is a great way to build user experience. Many developers and builders seem to neglect the importance of reaching out to end users and getting their feedback right from the start of the project.

    I mean you are building for them, it would only be logical to involve them in every step of the process.

    Very informative article with a very good structure in terms of application. Someone can take this article and just run with it when it comes to conducting this type of workshop.

    Great work and can’t wait for the next article.

    Janakhan

    1. Thank you very much for your comment:) I know exactly about the issues with developers that don’t focus on the endusers, I think they are really good for technical issues and building. I think this is why we need different competences when building systems and websites, UX-designers are needed to make sure the endusers needs is taken care of and that the solution helps them with solve the actual problems they are facing. I think teamwork is very important between designers, developers and also endusers. All is a part of the result.

  2. Yes, that is one of the biggest things people don’t get… That you need to involve those who will also be part of it.

    Great post very thought provoking, thank you

    Mark

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