Creative UX Ideation Techniques: Business Origami & Ideation Poker

This design note was about my recent attendance to a UX workshop, which offered by Foolproof Singapore, dated 13 March 2017.

It was an intensive workshop, which opened to all UX practitioners during the last Singapore Design Week 2017. It was interesting to see that 83% of the attendees are seasoned design specialists, with some of them holds a leading UX position at their job. I guessed we, UX-ers are avid learners!

In traditional UX practices, contextual inquiry (e.g. in-depth interviews) and brainstorming are standard techniques that deployed in nearly every design assignment. While these methods are very useful, but they are not lean enough, especially when you have to run repeated sessions with the same group of internal stakeholders and keep them engaged and interested.

With that in mind, Foolproof Singapore had introduced their tried and tested UX techniques of modified Business Origami and Ideation Poker that frequently used across their UX design process.

The workshop was facilitated by Kai Seng, David Khoo, and Zigg who had done a good job of demonstrating the mentioned techniques to us in a fresh perspective.

Technique #1 Business Origami

Business Origami (BO) is not a new technique; it is a paper-prototyping method that has been invented by the Hitachi Design Center for system design (Hitachi, n.d.). The essences of BO is about tangibility, whereby everyone can participate to create a shared vision.

The mechanics of BO would require a set of paper cut-outs (that we identify as token or “variables” as I see it), which used to represent of people, groups, channels, and environments that found in the ecosystem of a product or services.

To begin, the mechanics would involve several stakeholders to co-map out a transaction of an existing system before redefining the business value of current trade from the lens of RoI & RoE (Return on Experience).

An improvised version of  BO
In this workshop, we have practiced a modified version of BO, whereby we used the mechanics of BO as real-time insights logging tool during user interview.

This approach would enable the UX researcher to pin down the informants’ task flow and their experience with all the touch points of a current service model that they have been through. As the UX researcher visualizing the information that verbalized by the participants, the informant themselves can help to clarify any misinterpreted responses that arise at times. This participatory approach is practical to learn about the user pain points while generating the user journey map on the fly.

To reliably capture the informants’ pain points, there will be a set of tangible rating tools handed to the participants at the near end of the session. From there, they can help the UX researcher to reassert the pain points in quantitative manners.

Below are some samples of the BO canvas that we had generated during the hands-on practice session.

Pros of Modified BO method
–       Cost-effective (as papers is cheap artifacts);
–       Reliable findings as the informants had co-created the mapping;
–       Reduce the workload for UX Researcher when plotting a journey map;
–       Effective for gaps /problem space sensing & detection.

Cons of Modified BO method
–       Required a deep skill in user-interview (experience in laddering);
–       Space-constraint; require a large table space to spread out the BO canvas;
–       Required detailed planning (research design);

Technique #2 Ideation Poker

The second creative UX techniques that I have learned was Ideation Poker. It is a gamified brainstorming technique, which derived from the card game mechanics of UNO. It is a party-style idea generation approach that required at least two groups of people to play it out.

The deal deck has only 3 different color-coded cards or classes, namely Green for platform/tools, Yellow for constraints, and Red as wild card/disruptor (see Figure above).  The gameplay would require a moderator to distribute the game card, and each group of participants has to generate (or write down) as many ideas as they can onto a post-it note within a given time limit before a new pair of cards being distributed again.

Later, all the participants will review their fragmented ideas and apply clustering technique for rearranging the post-it notes based on similarity.

The primary objective of this exercise is to use force connection approach in a structured manner so that there will be a recalibration of all the “blue sky ideas” with existing “down-to-earth” solutions that are economically viable.

Overall, all the participants and the facilitators agreed that the Ideation Poker technique is a fun but highly brain-draining activity! We were so tired at the end of the day, as the technique needs to play out with a fast pacing, and timing is a crucial factor.

Personally, I have found that the modified Business Origami method is quite useful. As such, I have adapted it into a user research tool, which subsequently I taught it in one of my evening Human-Centered Design UiUX course.


#End of Sharing

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