Je bekijkt deze pagina in het Nederlands. Houd er rekening mee dat al onze lessen en communicatie in het Engels zijn.


27 augustus 2018

How to use Post-it Notes, Part 2

No such thing as too enthusiastic!

Design Sprint Day 1 — From Attention to Direction.

Happy Monday! Welcome back!

Let’s continue where we left off in (Part 1):

Picture this:

I’m in the shower on the first evening of Day 0.

The evening after three-quarters of a day, spent researching “the conditions of stress-based absence in the Dutch workforce.”

I scrub my back and lather soap over my left shoulder, while pondering…

”Of the 40% of the Dutch workforce struggling with stress-related health issues, how many are self-employed millennials?

Hm, I already know that 19.5% of that 40% are 25–35 years old, so that’s a start, but…”

Even before Day 1 and our two early conference call sessions, this was what my thoughts looked like.


But amazing, right?

Give your brain a problem- and it will work on a solution, especially while it’s physically occupied with routine, but mentally free to wander.
This is why flashes of inspiration come on the toilet, or in the shower.

I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about it all the time. And now, thanks to the Calls, Conversations and Post-its, it was worse.

Without giving my thinking some direction, I may have driven myself totally crazy.

So… Post-it’s are pretty amazing and you’re going slightly insane, what’s next?

More Post-its.

Hold on. Correction:

  • Whiteboards and Dry-wipe Markers.
  • Then, more Post-its.

Step 2: Figure out where the hell you’re going, what direction to take and who’s coming with you.

Big job, but why?

Well, first let’s simplify this into design terms.

We’re at an anchor point.

That point is the sum of our research.

Everything we know about what we’re trying to solve, except the solution, is in this little starting point.

So… what’s the easiest way for us to give this anchor point, a direction?

That’s right. Add another point. An end point.

And then, by connecting these two points, we have a line. And a line always has a direction.

That’s why we call them vectors.

Uh… what the hell are you talking about?

Well, that first I needed a target. An end point. An end to the line. We all did.

So, Where are you going?

The first step is to set the Long Term Goal.

This is a snapshot of what your product is going to do, without defining how your product is going to look.

Our Goal is to… (do what?) in order to… (help how?) for… (who?)

We make this by carefully considering these four questions:

  • What are we trying to do?
  • Who are we trying to help?
  • What are they struggling with?
  • And how are we going to help them?

Careful though, there’s a delicate balance to setting your Long Term Goal, in equal parts both vague and defined.

We must be:

  • ’Vague’ enough to leave space for multiple solutions, and embrace multiple opportunities.
  • But ‘Defined’ enough to identify with our struggle, and expose the solutions inside those opportunities.

The most important thing is that this must be written down and visible to everyone.

Think of looking at your Long Term Goal like lying on the grass as a kid, reading shapes in the clouds.

If you and your team all stare at the goal and see something different, you’re on the right track.

And then, you ask more questions

Staring at our Long Term Goal will encourage us to ask questions of the goal we see. To poke holes in it and see if it holds up.

What could stop us from achieving this goal?
Where are the biggest hurdles we could potentially face?
…Knowing these, what can we do to make this product a success?
Can we … (do something) ?

By asking Sprint Questions of our goal and sharing those questions, we inform the first steps we take.

We clarify the questions we want to answer and pull together everyone’s understanding of how achievement of this goal will look. Just by going through this process.

Here’s where we ended up:

Now, what direction will you take?

When you know where to go, but you have no idea which way you need to walk. Where do you check first?

You check the Map.

If you’re a lost child like me, Google Maps is the most used app on your phone. We don’t have the map, so it’s time we made it.

Finally, who’s coming with?

You start broad, then you narrow your focus.

We can’t help everyone.

An effective solution is aimed at the problem of a specific person.

We’ve clarified who we’re going to help, but we need to zero-in and go less broad if we actually want to reach the people we’re trying to help.

In our case, we had to ask ourselves:

Who exactly is the ‘Dutch workforce’ made up of?

By breaking down the Dutch workforce into the “types” of workers who make it, we were also able to break down their unique struggles and pinpoint how they could solve those struggles.

And only then, did we become able to concept product solutions. Next week, Solutions. X marks the spot.

Final Takeaways

  • Your brain is a solution-finding machine… and may drive you crazy in the problem-solving process.
  • You need a start-point and an end-point to have a direction. Know where you intend to end up before you think about the form your product will take.
  • Start broad, very broad, for space to breathe- but then narrow your audience if you actually want to help someone.
  • Your map’s purpose is to help you find your audience.
Thank you so much for reading!

Come back next week to see how the team and I followed this Map!

I’m Eli Hughes, an Illustrator and UX Designer living in Amsterdam.

I love stories and I love people. I spend a bunch of my time thinking about what people do and why people do it. Follow me to hear about the next article on my experience in the Codaisseur Design Academy Next Monday.

How to use Post-it Notes, Part 2 was originally published in Codaisseur Academy on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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