Update: We received a number of wonderful ideas and feedback during this week's #dchat. In fact, it was so good that I decided to heed some of it in the creation of this week's roundup and, based on what I hear from folks, may continue this format going forward. As I mention in the recap, we take feedback seriously at the d.school. So, thanks to everyone who offered theirs -- to say nothing of the great storytelling suggestions.
I'll be online for #dchat tomorrow, June 3, from 6-7pm PT to discuss how to tell stories about design work in progress. I'm looking forward to your ideas and feedback!
One of my responsibilities as editor-in-residence at the d.school is to share the fellows' design work as it's happening. I am most successful when I'm able to get the fellows (and others) to tell these stories in their own words.
The challenge, however, is that reporting on work in progress, particularly human-centered design work, often means disrupting the work itself. I find myself poking at individuals and organizations when they're in motion and vulnerable. Another challenge is to avoid being seduced by the work. It's hard to stand back and watch others wrestle -- often brilliantly -- with a big challenge. You want to jump in, give them a hand and be a part of their solution-building. Then there's the time you have to sit back, alone, and process -- much like I'm doing now even as the d.school vibrates with activity around me.
At the moment, I'm in the same room as d.school fellow Anne Gibbon as she plans a design workshop with one of her colleagues.
Do I interrupt and start asking questions about their process - in this case, to bring design thinking to the military - as they're in it? No. I'll wait until afterwards and debrief when she's done.
This has been my inner monologue for nearly 10 months.
Then there's the question of time. People doing intense design work are perpetually wrestling with time as a very real constraint. They barely have time to tackle the problem in front of them, not to mention field probing questions and write blog posts. There are moments I'm surprised fellows don't just reach up and swat my camera out of my hands! Story-gathering can be a nosy business.
But that's my design challenge: continuously improve the process of story-gathering around this process. Make it easier, more seamless, less intrusive, and yet make sure the byproduct -- the story -- is as widely accessible as possible.
How do you tell the story of design work in process? I have a few methods I've developed, many of which are modifications on tricks I've learned from my media work. I look forward to sharing these during #dchat tomorrow (Tuesday, June 3). We'll pick up at 6pm and go until 7pm PT.