Capture today for better stories tomorrow: Four prototypes

What if, instead of waiting until the end of your design work, you intentionally captured your story throughout? How do you go beyond daily journaling or the occasional photograph? The fellows are here, and Wednesday afternoon we presented them with some methods they can use to capture their stories. The "we" in question is made up of Seamus Harte and me.

We want to help the fellows seamlessly tell the story of their learning and innovation process. Here's the first version of our point-of-view (POV) statement, which is subject to change based on feedback:

How might we capture the insights and learnings of innovators in process?

That also means we need to share our own process. Here we go:

Yesterday, Seamus and I met for about two hours to nail down the various ideas we had each come up with during time on our own. We then had a massive whiteboarding session, which produced this:

We started with underlying concepts and then added ideas, subtracted others and narrowed down to three methods of story-capture we wanted to present to the fellows the following day. We have others we plan to introduce later in the year, but three were more essential than the rest to help get the fellows up and running as soon as possible.

Seamus and I then spent the day heads down, me working on this blog post and he on the presentation for the fellows capturing the four methods we planned to share. Oh, that's right, we ended up with four instead of three, adding a fourth this morning.

An early sketch from Emi's notebook made the morning before the presentation. (Emi Kolawole)
An early sketch from Emi's notebook made the morning before the presentation. (Emi Kolawole)

Here they are:


What if you took a picture a day of your experience every single day? What would you see -- not just in every individual photograph, but in the aggregate when laid out over time? How would your choices change, and what would it inspire you to do that you wouldn't otherwise do? If you've ever looked back at an old photo album or scrolled back through your social media photo feed, you've probably realized that you can learn a lot about who you are by seeing where you've been. This method is meant to help the fellows actively engage with their project and create a 360-degree view of their experience.

Mic'd Moments

Here's the goal: We're going to conduct interviews with each fellow -- one for each quarter of the year. These interviews will be meant to show the arc of each fellow's experience as it relates to their learning and application of design thinking. We did interviews like this last year with four of our nine fellows. Here's the one we did with fellows alum Melissa Kline Lee:

We'll be posting others in the very near future.

Minno moments

We'll be asking each fellow to share updates on their projects via 45-second video shorts. Every time each fellow posts a video, the entire team will receive a text message notification. Over time, we hope this allow the fellows to continue the community ties they build in person early in the program on throughout the middle and end as they dive more deeply into their projects.

Creative Coffee

Sometimes ideas get stuck and the only way to get them out is to talk with someone ready and willing to ask questions and creatively explore your ideas. Some of the strongest insights I was able to ascertain were by merely sitting and talking with the fellows, actively listening and taking notes. Note: This one was added today, and was not part of our original brainstorm.

We'll be sharing what we learn here, of course. But, in the meantime, let us know which methods you are currently using. Have you tried one of these or a variation? Let us know that too.

Update: Rather than present Creative Coffee, we opted to present the "Day in the Life" documentary method. This method would call on us to produce at least one video (but hopefully more) of each fellow that captured a day in their life at the