The Business of Innovation Co-designing creativity in an entertainment companyâ€™s communications department
The Business of Innovation
Co-designing creativity in an entertainment companyâ€™s communications department Marcelo Albagli tutors Alison Prendiville Cordula Friedlander MDes Service Design Innovation London College of Communication University of Arts of London November 2012
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Keywords: methodology, creativity, business Word count: 14,420 words
Acknowledgements This project would not have been possible without the support of Natália, who endured the greatest loss of her life this year and still found the strength to be by my side ♥ thank you so much. I wish to thank my tutors Alison Prendiville and Cordula Friedlander, who proposed inspiring challenges, provided critiques, and above all offered encouragement throughout the course. I also want to thank architecture & graphic design tutor David Phillips, for showing how poetry can be written anywhere, and project manager Dee Halligan, who so wisely exposed how innovation is all about culture. Furthermore, I could not be more grateful to my mates for the lovely time we spent together, in and outside the studios — I do wish we had the chance of staying together for another year. Thank you for this time in London. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the enthusiasm and openness of Globo TV Network Communication Department Editorial Production and Press director Andrea Doti, managers Paula Lordello and Daniela Pereira, coordinators Daniela Diniz, Clarissa Ciarelli, Roberta Margarit, Carlos Alberto Ferreira Jr. and Leandro Fortino, photographer Alex Carvalho, and for the insightful contributions of Ana Caroline, Juliana Mattoni, Luciana Lacerda, Camila Crespo, Luanna Brito, Nathalia Tavares, Anna Carolina, Marcelo Nogueira, Luis Claudio Sá Ferreira, Sabrina Moura, and Leonor Gorban. Thank you for the interviews, photos, drawings and dedication to this project. To Chris, Sarah, Ant, and Ian, without whom the city of London would not be as incredible and welcoming; Anoma Abeyewardene, Anne Oyeyemi, and all the personnel at Tooting Broadway underground station — thank you all for putting ‘Books for London’ together and allowing us in. I am also grateful to the Watt family, Fernanda, Mark, Fernando and Sophia, dear front-end developer Claudio Oscar and product designer Lisa Collins, who have all volunteered their time and helped to develop the concept of a new public water service in the UK. The innovators and staff at Geovation Camp and Ordnance Survey, Sean Miller (NONON), Viv, David, and Chris, I had such a great time working with you all. Once more, I really appreciate the opportunity.
To our friends at the Samsung Art and Design Institute (SADI) in Seoul, Korea, especially dearest Noo-Lee Choi, and Hyun-im Cho, Jin-ah Park, Joo-min Wang, and Hyun-soo Park, I have to say that (eating and) working with you was an experience for life. I will always remember this and the project we put together so well. Gamsahamnida! To the students and tutors at Cranfield University and the Saïd Business School in Oxford, it has been such a pleasure to partner with you. To Gabriel Patrocínio and Bruno Porto, who shared their thoughts on my studies, I am really grateful for your kind advice. To Martin Brown at IDEO, thank you so much for your comments and insights. Furthermore, this Master would never have been possible without the support of Pedro Leitão, who trusted my work and kept up with me all the way from the very start; Jaíra Farias and Karen Levy, who encouraged me to embark on this journey, I am really happy, thank you so much. To my family and closest friends, to former co-workers and clients at Canvas Webhouse, thank you for sharing the excitement. Finally, to our friendly and inspiring unicorn in Southampton, I wish to thank it for the magic of being there.
To my mother Heloisa
Table of contents Acknowledgments VII SUMMARY 11 INTRODUCTION 15 An insight into the need for more creativity
The raw material of change
We, creative people 21 The T-Person 23 Exploratory play 27
INNOVATION IN PRACTICE
Experiencing a design challenge
User journey at Geovation camp
The power of visualisation
CASE STUDY 41 Creativity in a creative company
Globo TV Network 43 CG-COM and design thinking
Visualising the organisation 47 Acknowledging perspectives 51 Five themes 53 Time resources 54 “It depends” 55 Performance metrics 57 Experiencing expertises 57 Locality 60
Co-designing perceptions 61 Internal mobile ethnography
Data visualisation 64 Service journey 65 The views of an expert
PROTOTYPING 71 Imagining a service towards innovation
Designers as provocateurs 72 Corporate practices for idea generation
Time to play 79 Positive experiences and scepticism
FINAL SERVICE PROPOSAL A method for disruption and determination
REFERENCES 117 Articles, books,Â papers and reports
Films and online media
Summary This project was conceived with the belief that design thinking offers an opportunity to ignite creativity from within any organisation. By moving coworkers out of their silos, and encouraging the practice of playful and collective dynamics across hierarchical structure, it seems there is a strong potential for engaging people and to spark imagination anywhere with the visual and collaborative methods of designers — even in large companies, and outside the design studio. The motivation to explore the subject of creativity in the workplace derived firstly from the professional experience acquired in over a decade in the so-called creative industry. During the recent years partnering with clients in order to deliver creative work in the field of interaction design, my business associates and I have experienced a whole set of barriers that hindered innovative production. Many of these barriers were directly related to the availability of resources, mainly time and money, but at times these same constraints worked as the very catalysts for exceptional creative work. This suggests that there is more to the creative quality of the final product than the commonly accepted notions that it solely depends on the attributes of personal talent and expertise. What is more, and for whatever particular reasons it may be, decisions in corporations routinely fail to take into account the dreams of their co-working teams. As research will show in the following pages, this diminishes the likelihood of creative production. Likewise, organisation hierarchy is usually structured on the basis of technical knowledge and/or political influence, even though experiences everywhere show the importance of creative leadership and the personal attributes associated with creativity in businesses. Therefore, this project also sets forth for consideration the inclusion of the individual and collective intrinsic motivations as an important ingredient for the business of innovation — not only during the course of product development, but as a daily praxis in any organisation.
“Managers cannot be expected to ignore business imperatives (…), but working toward these imperatives, they may be inadvertently designing organisations that systematically crush creativity”. Professor Teresa Amabile ‘How to Kill Creativity’, 1998, p.1
So rather than having a specific problem in mind, this project was originated from a broad conceptualisation that the issue of creativity in the workplace still deserves attention, and that the discipline of design provides a robust set of tools and methods that can generate the so desired innovation. Moreover, even though â€œthe economic importance of creativity is clear because new products or services create jobsâ€? (Sternberg and Lubart, 1999, p.3), this proposition is concerned with values and practices that go beyond R&D departments. Finally, by aiming at the perception of creativity at the personal level within a large organisation, this report will point out opportunities for creative production throughout the corporate environment, serving as a contribution to the pertinent dialogue between business and design.
“A company’s most important asset isn’t raw materials, transportation systems, or political influence. It’s creative capital — simply put, an arsenal of creative thinkers whose ideas can be turned into valuable products and services”. Richard Florida and Jim Goodnight ‘Managing for Creativity’, Harvard Business Review, July 2005
Modern Times (1936). Director Charlie Chaplin expressed deep concerns for the oppressing human conditions created by the efficiencies of industrialisation. In this scene, his famous Little Tramp â€œis selected for an experiment with an automatic feeding machine, but various mishaps leads his boss to believe he has gone mad, and Charlie is sent to a mental hospitalâ€? (imdb.com, 2012).
Introduction An insight into the need for more creativity Since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, where fastpaced changes sparked in the UK and eventually spread throughout the world (McNesse, 2000), breakthroughs in industry have been concerned with the themes of technology, efficiency and production capacity. Looking into the competent system designs of industrialist Henry Ford and the rational approach to management of mechanical engineer Frederick W. Taylor in North America at the beginning of the 20th century, there is no doubt that these creative minds were pursuing the capacity for optimising repetitiveness to achieve mass production. Arguably the big leaps in technology and the mechanisation of production in the last two hundred years have brought the generation of wealth to a scale mankind has never experienced before (Lucas, 2004). On account of extending and improving the successful experiences of industrialisation, our education systems have become practically specialised in promoting convergent thinking. This is extremely relevant to understanding the perspectives explored within this project. Languages and mathematics became the ground basis for the development of our industrial societies, leaving the humanities and the arts to lower ranks in the hierarchy of institutionalised knowledge (Robinson, 2006).
(video transcription excerpt) “Every education system on earth has the same hierarchy of subjects. (…) I think math is very important, but so is dance. Children dance all the time if they’re allowed to, we all do. We all have bodies, don’t we? (…) Truthfully, what happens is, as children grow up, we start to educate them progressively from the waist up. And then we focus on their heads. And slightly to one side”. TED Talks ‘Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity’, February 2006
However, the overall consequences and the negative impacts of large-scale industrialisation started to be more strongly felt in the last quarter of the 20th century. Today, global environmental issues alone raise crucial concerns on the
sustainability of our economic models and the moral and social values embedded into them. As Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm supported in his article from 2009 ‘Socialism has failed. Now capitalism is bankrupt. So what comes next?’ “(…) the 20th century is well behind us, but we have not yet learned to live in the 21st, or at least to think in a way that fits it”. So it is in this context that the urge for a fundamental disruptive approach emerges in every sector. It is no longer plausible to replicate or ameliorate what has already been done before and still expect the same benefits out of it (Shaughnessy, 2012a). By looking at Forbes’ ‘The World’s Most Innovative Companies’ list in 2011, which measures “how much investors have bid up the stock price of companies based on expectations of future innovation” (Forbes.com), one will find that four in the first ten most valued enterprises are directly related to the world wide web, a technology (or information system) that is barely over twenty years of age. Even though the list captures results in the financial market only, and possibly does not offer more comprehensive insights on how companies are actually responding to changes in the markets they trade in (Shaughnessy, 2011a), it does reveal the radical ongoing changes in market structures.
“Anyone in any doubt that old strategy is dying should take a look around at what companies are doing in frontier markets, business model innovation, reverse innovation, open innovation, corporate venturing, new business incubators, radical adjacencies. There’s a long list of new strategic approaches to business all designed to sniff out where advantage will, in future, lie”. Haydn Shaughnessy ‘The Rise of Radical Adjacency’, Forbes, July 2011
Moreover, the notion of well being (or quality of life) as the result of mere consumption is giving place to personal experiences as the ultimate value companies can provide their customers with. Bearing that in mind, products should more than ever be understood in the context they are consumed. Concurrently, as a large number of market analysts predict, “the oligopoly and monopoly power of companies in the West is going to fade very rapidly in the face of competition from India and China” (Shaughnessy, 2011a, p.2). Therefore, for what businesses are strictly concerned with, this is possibly an appropriate time for companies to embrace the risks of exploring new cores of competency and engaging with unfamiliar markets (Shaughnessy, 2011b). So in other words, and once more, if we want to be more competitive, we just need to be more creative. For the purpose of triggering continuous innovation, in industry and elsewhere, the methodology of design thinking has much to offer. By combining visualisation techniques and collaborative methods, it brings divergent thinking into the
In 2006 a photo posted on Flickr predicted changes in the video rental market due to the popularity of peer-to-peer computer networks. Four years later, Blockbuster Inc. would fill for bankruptcy protection in the US (BBC News, 2010).
equation of businesses (Hulme, 2010). As IDEO London design director Tom Hulme put it, traditional thinking is all about closing down options in order to make decisions and implement them, whereas divergent thinking opens up alternative ways of finding new opportunities (‘Hack FWD: 12 Ways To Add Design Thinking Into Your Project’, 2010). Thus exercising both divergent and convergent thinking into a single movement — one that can easily be communicated through images — is a powerful practice to be encouraged within all economic sectors. Despite the fact that the discipline of design has gradually gained a more comprehensive meaning amongst business students and professional entrepreneurs (Nussbaum, 2011), creativity, as the ‘raw material’ and starting point in the design process, cannot be conclusively defined. So it is here that this journey begins.
The raw material of change There are endless answers to how design differs from other human activities. Among many attempts to categorise it, “perhaps the most obvious attribute of design is that, (…) it takes abstract thoughts and inspirations and makes something concrete” (Hunter, 2012). In a report commissioned by Her Majesty’s Treasury, United Kingdom’s economics and finance ministry, former Design Council Chairman Sir George Cox said that “design is what links creativity to innovation” (‘The Cox Review’, 2005, p.2). Accepting this simple and yet methodical approach, it is fair to suggest that the first logical step in the direction of managing and delivering innovative work is to understand what creativity is. Looking through the lenses of different fields and cultures, the subject of creativity has been historically depicted in many ways (Sternberg and Lubart, 1999). According to American psychologist Robert J. Sternberg, there are at least seven prominent approaches to the study and definition of creativity, ranging from the mystical to the pragmatic (1999). It is not necessary to go into detail and explain every single one of these approaches for the purpose of this project. However, be it developed by the description of muses and the role they played in ancient Greek society (Murray and Wilson, 2004), or the first modern attempt proposed by Freud’s psychodynamic model “based on the idea that creativity arises from the tension between conscious reality and unconscious drives” (Sternberg and Lubart, 1999, p.6), what is relevant to acknowledge is that there is no unified theory that fully explains the complex phenomenon of creativity (Sternberg and Lubart, 1999). On the other hand, the attributes of originality and appropriateness seem to be recurrent in every effort to define the term (Sternberg and Lubart, 1999).
“Creativity is the production of novel and useful ideas in any domain. In order to be considered creative, a product or an idea must be different from what has been done before. (Few creative theorists hold the strong position that a creative idea must be completely unique) But the product or idea cannot be merely different for difference’s sake; it must also be appropriate to the goal at hand, correct, valuable, or expressive in meaning”. Professor Teresa M. Amabile ‘Creativity and Innovation in Organizations’, January 1996, p.1
As a deep scientific analysis of the subject would go far beyond the scope and feasibility of this project, the simple equation
NEW + VALUE = CREATIVE represents a significant confluence towards a practical understanding of creativity. The concept relates to the individual, who deals with problem solving in everyday life, as well as to society, as creativity “can lead to new scientific findings, new movements in art, new inventions, and new social programs” (Sternberg and Lubart, 1999, p.3). A product or an idea that is original in relation to an individual or a context (domain or society) is not considered creative if it serves no purpose (Amabile, 1996). Finally, the description above reveals a significant development in the modern history of creativity research — that creativity is increasingly perceived as a quality that can be associated with everyday situations and people, and not only with eminent figures (Sternberg and Lubart, 1999). So the focus of investigations should not be concentrated on geniuses like Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein and the like. As a matter of fact, researchers cannot fully assess these individuals, as they are usually not available for scientific experimentation and observation (Sternberg and Lubart, 1999). Therefore the, “(study of) these outstandingly creative people offered little to practitioners concerned with helping people to become more creative in their work” (Amabile, 1996, p.1). It is imperative to be aware of this to formulate suggestions on how to push forward innovation in the workplace. Of course it is necessary to recognise what the traits of a person perceived as creative are, but so it is to understand how creativity can be encouraged and managed, as well as the effects of the social environment in igniting or hindering creative work.
We, creative people In an attempt to conceptualise and measure creativity in products, groups, processes and individuals, creativity researchers have employed distinct methodologies and conducted diverse experiments based on different theories and in different realms of human knowledge (Mayer, 1999). Obviously, to frame creativity in a single definition is quite a complex endeavour, if not impossible. Amongst all methods, a well-validated tool in creativity research is labelled ‘Consensual Assessment Technique’, or simply ‘CAT’ (Baer and McKool, 2009). This method was first proposed by Professor Teresa Amabile in 1982 and further developed by her and her peers towards the end of the 20th century (Baer and McKool, 2009). In short, it depends on the judgement by experts and people familiar with a given domain to measure the creative quality of the work produced by others in that same field (Baer and McKool, 2009). For example, it would take a panel of painters to assess the creative qualities of a painting, or a panel of businessmen to validate the creative aspects of a business plan. To explain why we believe a work of art, a scientific theory, or just an idea is creative is certainly a hard task — unless one is familiar with the domain in which that product has been conceived (Baer and McKool, 2009). The beauty of CAT is that it is not based on any particular theory — and yet researchers validate the approach (Baer and McKool, 2009). Furthermore, as we all might agree, it is not possible to measure or judge creative work from a neutral and scientific point of view. Perhaps, it never will be. Therefore this research turned to well-known creative professionals to find out what they had to say about the creative process. At this stage, it was not appropriate to pose any specific set of questions, but rather to approach the issue with an open mind and just listen to them. If ‘it takes one to recognise one’, this approach would reveal similarities and/or consensus across different points of view, which would be a fruitful strategy for the achievement of a valid definition of ‘the creative person’. As creativity is the raw material for people working in the so-called creative industries, it was not surprising that many of the lectures and films found during this research came from artists and designers.
American art director George Lois says he does not create anything. Rather, he â€œdiscovers the ideasâ€?. Credits: oncreativity.tv
The T-Person In an interview for design company Süperfad’s project “On Creativity”, American art director George Lois declared that he does not create anything. Rather, he discovers the ideas.
(video transcription excerpt) “I don’t think I create anything. I’m really serious — I discover the ideas. (…) If you understand how to think… And if you have a background of history of art, if you have a background of graphic art, and you are a sports fan, and you’re literate, and you’re interested in politics, and you love opera, and ballet’s not bad either... and if you understand people… and you understand language, and you understand that product, and you understand the competitive products… and you put that all together in about ten minutes — the idea’s there.” George Lois ‘On Creativity’, June 2012
In such a short passage, Lois is able to deliver three insightful contributions towards a practical understanding of the creative process and the traits of the creative person. First, he describes the process of creativity as a process of exploration (“I don’t create anything, I discover the ideas”). So creativity is not about bringing into existence something completely unique. Rather, the creative process comprises the rearrangement of personal interests and previous experiences (sports, politics, ballet, and so on) in ways that are not expected, thus enabling the new. That is why the abilities of making analogies and allowing intuition are recurrently mentioned as traits of creative people. Furthermore, this description also strengthens the idea that creativity has nothing to do with ‘divine inspiration’, which is a concept that for so long hindered progress towards a scientific approach of the subject (Sternberg and Lubart, 1999). Therefore it is possible to conclude that creativity is a quality open to everyone to exercise. The art director also stated that having an area of expertise (“if you have a background of history of art”) at the same time one has the ability to step into someone else’s shoes (“and if you understand people”) are characteristics of people with good problem-solving skills. This balance between proficiency in
a given domain and openness to others (empathy) is increasingly sought after in professionals in service-oriented economies today (Donofrio, Spohrer and Zadeh, 2010). It is known by the metaphor ‘T-shaped skills’, a term first coined by David Guest in an article on the IT labour market in 1991 (‘The hunt is on for the Renaissance Man of computing’, The Independent) (Donofrio, Spohrer and Zadeh, 2010). In the last twenty years, the term has evolved and developed into the concept of the ‘T-Shaped People’ (Donofrio, Spohrer and Zadeh, 2010), serving as a strong argument for the adoption of inter-disciplinary teams to achieve innovation, as explained below:
“We look for people who are so inquisitive about the world that they’re willing to try to do what you do. We call them “T-shaped people.” They have a principal skill that describes the vertical leg of the T — they’re mechanical engineers or industrial designers. But they are so empathetic that they can branch out into other skills, such as anthropology, and do them as well. They are able to explore insights from many different perspectives and recognize patterns of behavior that point to a universal human need. That’s what you’re after at this point — patterns that yield ideas”. Tim Brown ‘Strategy by Design’, Fast Company, June 2005
Finally, Lois said that acknowledging the context to which innovation refers is relevant (“and you understand that product, and you understand the competitive products”). So, as already stated in this report, creative ideas are not only novel, they are also useful (George Lois works in the advertising industry, so he needs to understand the competition in order to promote his clients’ brands and products).
British actor, writer and film-producer John Cleese distinguished between two modes of thinking: the ‘open mode’, when we are relaxed and creativity occurs, and the ‘closed mode’, when we are busy carrying out practical tasks.
According to IDEO’s CEO Tim Brown, “as we learn to be adults we start to fear the judgement of our peers, becoming embarrassed by our own crazy ideas” (2008).
Exploratory play Another insightful perspective for the investigation of the creative process comes from the British actor, writer and film-producer John Cleese. Best known as the co-founder of the British surreal comedy group Monty Python, Cleese has now been lecturing on the subject of creativity for over two decades. According to him, “the most creative (people) have simply acquired a facility for getting themselves in a particular mood which allowed their natural creativity to function. (…) (it is) an ability to play” (‘John Cleese - Lecture on Creativity’, 1991). Cleese seems to be much concerned with the mysterious processes of the creative mind. He also distinguished between two modes of thinking - the ‘open mode’, when we are relaxed and creativity occurs, and the ‘closed mode’, when we are busy carrying out practical tasks.
(video transcription excerpt) “We get our ideas from what I’m going to call for a moment our unconscious — the part of our mind that goes on working, for example, when we’re asleep. So what I’m saying is that if you get into the right mood, then your mode of thinking will become much more creative. But if you’re racing around all day, ticking things off a list, looking at your watch, making phone calls and generally just keeping all the balls in the air, you are not going to have any creative ideas”. John Cleese ‘Creativity World Forum: The Importance of Creativity’, November 2008
An additional description that also supports the idea that we need to be relaxed in order to be creative comes from design company IDEO’s CEO Tim Brown. In a recent talk about the co-relation between the ability to play and creativity, Brown turned to studies of children playing to suggest how we can get ‘in the mood’ for developing innovative ideas. According to him, “as we learn to be adults we start to fear the judgement of our peers, becoming embarrassed by our own ‘crazy ideas’” (‘Serious Play: Tales of creativity and play’, 2008). Therefore, if we do not feel ourselves in a trusted environment we will not be able to express our wildest thoughts, tending to be more conservative in our thinking (Brown, 2008).
(video transcription excerpt) “Kids are more engaged with open possibilities. Now, they’ll certainly — when they come across something new, they’ll certainly ask, “What is it?” Of course they will. But they’ll also ask, “What can I do with it? (…) And this openness is the beginning of exploratory play. (…) We’ve all told stories about how, on Christmas morning, our kids end up playing with the boxes far more than they play with the toys that are inside them. And you know, from an exploration perspective, this behavior makes complete sense. Because you can do a lot more with boxes than you can do with a toy. Even one like, say, Tickle Me Elmo — which, despite its ingenuity, really only does one thing, whereas boxes offer an infinite number of choices. So again, this is another one of those playful activities that, as we get older, we tend to forget and we have to relearn”. Tim Brown ‘TED Partner Series, Serious Play: Tales of creativity and play’, May 2008
Among the many accounts explored in this research, these three passages alone express the traits of the creative person and the processes of creative thinking quite clearly. In short, it is possible to say that we need to be flexible and allow playful moments to spark new ideas and to conduct creative processes. Furthermore, if creativity is a process of exploration, these explanations also lead us to conclude that creative people need to be persistent in the search for innovation, almost obsessive (i.e. have intrinsic motivation); we also need to be tolerant to risks and to be able to live with ambiguities. Finally, they all also suggested the kind of environment appropriate for creative production; an environment where we are free to play, and where we can feel trusted.
Geovation camp: The Wales Coast Path
Innovation in practice Experiencing a design challenge In June 2012 the two-day event ‘Wales Coast Path Geovation Camp’, organised by the British civilian organisation Ordnance Survey (OS), took place in Cardiff, Wales. The main goal of the camp was to provide the thirteen pre-selected teams with an opportunity to refine their original ideas, formulated at the previous phase of the competition. Initially, fifty-seven proposals had entered the challenge. By the end of the process, finalists would still need to pitch a last time for a share of the £125,000 offered to fund the most innovative projects. To help these teams refine the shortlisted ideas, and possibly to turn them into successful projects, participants were introduced to some of the tools and methods of designers. The camp’s organisation employed design thinking and encouraged its adoption for the aim of social innovation. During the weekend when the camp took place, participants were asked to review their initial designs, visualise their concepts, and finally to deliver a two-minute presentation for the judging panel at the end. A group of students from MDes Service Design Innovation at the London College of Communication (LCC) provided support our mission was to assist the teams with the tools and methods, as most of these were unfamiliar to the entrants. The camp presented me with an opportunity to observe how teams would adopt the methodology — if they actually would at all. First, I was interested in having more understanding of how people without training in arts or design would use visual communication in their processes. Would they actually ‘think by doing’ with the support of markers, scissors and sticky notes, or would they just use these tools to make their presentations more compelling for the judges? A blank piece of paper is a powerful platform for collaborative work - but would it be exploited to its full potential? It was not the concern to measure the teams’ abilities as designers, but rather to find out whether they would embrace these methods and tools, and feel comfortable with them. Secondly, it was relevant to understand how individuals would collaborate to evolve their ideas. Would they apply more or less divergent thinking in the development of their proposals? Would they be willing to embrace the risks of dismantling and rearranging their original thoughts, or maybe even redefining them from scratch? If so, how would they react to this decision faced with such a tight deadline?
User journey at Geovation camp
User journey at Geovation camp User journeys (or service journeys) are visual descriptions of a given sequence of events focused on the perspectives of the user. They are visual narratives that help to make user experiences tangible. In the case of this Geovation camp, drawing the journey made me realise some important characteristics of the dynamics in the design challenge. Learning the Geovation camp process was of ultimate importance, as I knew it might be needed to undertake similar processes at a later stage in this project. The most relevant characteristics of the camp were: â€˘
Convenience: food, drinks, physical space and technical support. These all acted in favour of participants to feel at ease, and not having to worry about anything but their ideas. Participants knew their basic needs would be provided for at any time, so they could work in a comfortable environment, where they had access to all facilities. Furthermore, all facilitators were obviously easy to approach.
Framework: the organisers offered a framework that assisted teams to develop their concepts and to deliver their presentations at the end. This was the very methodology in practice, which most participants were unfamiliar with. That is why facilitators delivered short presentations and training workshops over the weekend, trying to follow up with the collective work and setting the rhythm. People were aware of the stages they were expected to accomplish in their working process, and how long it was suggested they spend on each one. Furthermore, the organisation also provided document templates, like the business model canvas. These templates suggested paths for the exploration of ideas, helping entrants to reassess their original concepts.
Playfulness: to have fun is essential. Some activities in the camp were undoubtedly put in place to help participants feel relaxed and less formal. As research has shown, it is strategic for the aim of delivering innovative work that people are not afraid of sharing their thoughts, so they become more interactive and collaborate with each other. Playfulness serves the purpose of breaking the ice and opens up the mind for exploration.
Value: all through the weekend the organisers stressed that there was a great deal to be taken home from the camp. By that they meant that financial incentive was not the only objective to be aiming at. Participants should be aware of the network they had the opportunity to build. Of course, the whole learning experience could also provide them with the tools for future projects. So it was not all about the money, but rather about the engagement in sustainable practices for continuous social innovation.
The power of visualisation During the weekend spent at the camp, my first day was exclusively dedicated to assisting a team with their project ‘Living Paths’. As one of the supporting service design students from LCC, I was asked to help the group with whatever necessary visual work they might eventually demand. Nevertheless, the members apparently did not feel the need for any expert assistance. They reviewed their original ideas addressing a selection of questions and opportunities among many previously identified by the camp’s experts, and carried on with their internal debates in the way they were apparently used to - writing and talking. Even though I was invited to share my thoughts along the way, it seemed legitimate to believe that helping them visualise their service could be the strongest contribution a designer could make at that point. So to verify whether the hypothesis was true, I decided to quickly sketch their conceptual system when the day was over and they had left the room. The plan was to check how the team would react to it the next morning, and whether it would actually play any role in the development of their final design. On the following day, the group was already gathered around their table when I entered the room. Their excitement was evident - most members even rose from their chairs and thanked me for the drawing. One of the participants even said, ‘it’s great you have put it together, it was exactly what we had in mind”. Next, I was told copies were made to be handed out to the judges, and the work would be presented at a Wikimedia convention in Washington D.C. (the project ‘Living Paths’ encouraged residents on and close by the Wales Coast Path to create Wikipedia pages and post articles about their communities, which would then be geo-tagged). The experiment proved that visualisation is undoubtedly a powerful communication tool. Nevertheless, it represents much more than that. Empowering a creative team with visual skills ignites dialogues that were not in place before (as another team member acknowledged to me afterwards). It elucidates and tests mental models in ways outside the competency of words, changing “our way of imagining” (Schneider, 2011, p.71). Finally, visualising ideas connects us emotionally to our work. Of course, this is of ultimate importance, both at personal and professional levels.
A simple service journey was drawn in fifteen minutes and exposed where value would be created to users in the Living Paths project.
“Graphic designers have a distinctive visual imagination and think early how a planned idea will work in practice. (...) This special perspective contributes to the development process right from its onset. The creative team benefits from the designer’s ability to create mock-ups and prototypes with relative ease. These can already have certain functions and can therefore help in detecting misconceptions, making it easier for team members without creative background to play the user’s role and integrate themselves with the creative process”. Jakob Schneider ‘This is Service Design Thinking: Basics – Tools – Cases’, 2011, p.77
RECEPTION DISRUPTION DESIGN 40
Case Study Creativity in a creative company Feeling comfortable with the achievement of a valid definition of creativity, and having observed how non-experts deal with the methodology of design in real-life social innovation projects, a solid background was in place to move on with this project. As previously indicated, the original goal of this project was to investigate how creative practices could be encouraged in large organisations, especially with regard to the methodology typical of designers. In other words, if collaborative visual processes are so familiar to designers, would it be true that design thinking could also work as such a powerful methodology for innovation in any other context than the design studio as well - especially in big companies, where internal processes are usually slower and the hierarchy commonly rigid? To answer that question, it seemed pertinent to suggest that further investigation should be carried out in rather formal corporate culture environments, where the organisational hierarchy is not to be questioned and convergent thinking largely practised (or encouraged). As the creative process demands an ability to play, it seemed fair to conjecture that challenging ‘serious’ businesses that are not used ‘to being disturbed’ from within would serve as a proper ground for exploring the subject ‘in real life’. However, the other way round presented a more enticing perspective for this research. What if an innovative company served as the research field? How would design thinking add to or transform creative processes in companies that were already known for their creative power? Finally, would design thinking be incorporated or even perceived as valid at all? After a few attempts, a large organisation finally agreed to participate in this project. Even though other companies had also shown genuine interest in design thinking when they were first contacted (like Brazil-based cosmetics, fragrances and personal hygiene products manufacturer Natura, which appeared in 8th position in Forbes’ ‘The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2011’ list, just behind Google), Globo TV Network reacted promptly and quickly made room for the research to be executed.
Globo TV Network Founded by Brazilian journalist and media mogul Roberto Marinho in 1965, Globo TV Network (or simply Globo) is today amongst the four largest open TV broadcasters in the world in revenue, side-by-side with the Walt Disney Group owned American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and CBS Broadcasting Inc. Globo employs more than 20,000 people, with five local broadcasters and 117 affiliates, reaching out to 99.5% of the population (i.e. an audience of 190 million people in Brazil alone). Every year, Globo produces 2,700 hours of TV drama, which is equivalent to over 2,000 feature films and more than any other TV broadcaster in the world, and 1,600 hours of telejournalism. Furthermore, 90% of all primetime programs are produced in-house. Since 1973, when Globo first exported the “O Bem Amado” TV series to Uruguay, TV Globo International has licensed, co-produced, and distributed programs to more than 130 countries in 30 different languages, using satellites, cable and IPTV technology. In the advertising market, Globo serves over seventeen million TV commercials every year, working in partnership with 6,200 ad agencies and over 50,000 customers (Doti, 2012). Finally, Globo TV belongs to the holding Globo Organization, which also controls the leading Pay TV programmer in Brazil, as well as the leading internet content and service provider, music labels, radio stations, magazine publishers, news agencies, film producer and distributor Globo Filmes, besides all the merchandise (Globo Marcas) (globoir.globo.com, 2012). Whether due to the incredibly high viewing rates of its soap operas (TV drama), or the clear dominance in the broadcast journalism market (TV news) in the country, the strong influence Globo has on Brazilian culture and society today is undeniable. However, the point here is not to make any political statements about the role played by big media conglomerates. Rather, the aim is to give the reader an idea of the power this company has been able to generate through its creative production in the last fifty years. As expected, the competitive edge Globo has over any other Portuguese-speaking media corporation is enormous, and the company is still ascending today as a major player in the entertainment industry, reaching customers far beyond the Brazilian borders. Lastly, Globo’s branding strategy is founded on what they consider to be their two major strengths - state-of-the-art technological infrastructure and the creativity of their employees (the creativity of the Brazilian people, widely known for their cultural diversity). Developing the company’s branding strategy is among the tasks of the Globo TV Network Communication Department.
Presentation: the benefits of divergent and convergent thinking in the context of businesses through design.
CG-COM and design thinking Globo’s Communication Dept (CG-COM) is responsible for promoting every show that goes on air, all Globo’s social programs, the company’s branding strategy, all special events and live coverage transmissions, the network’s institutional messages in all media channels, as well as to develop the company’s internal communications. As one might expect, the amount of information processed in the department is absolutely overwhelming, and the diversity of products vast. Finally, CG-COM is comprised of five specialised divisions - Planning and Management, Corporate Communications, Advertising and Design, Social Responsibility & Public Relations, and Editorial Production and Press. Altogether there are over two hundred people working in these divisions. In the first interview with Editorial Production and Press director Andrea Doti, the subject of design thinking was introduced with the support of a quick 20-slide PowerPoint presentation. If the objective of the meeting were to involve CG-COM in this project, it would of course be necessary to explain the methodology the department would eventually be experimenting with. Even though design was not Doti’s area of expertise, it was easy to demonstrate how divergent thinking was usually left out of traditional corporate practices, as well as showing the benefits divergent and convergent thinking could sustain if skilfully orchestrated in businesses, and how that related to design (the co-existence of these two
movements is the ground basis for the design process formulated by the British Design Council in 2005 known as the double diamond diagram). Although the aim of this project was to explore how design thinking could be applied in the context of a big enterprise for the purpose of innovation, Doti was initially hesitant as to whether CG-COM could serve as the investigation field. In her own words, every area within the department had its own responsibilities, and every individual a high demand of work to deliver on a daily basis. Therefore, it was not often that CG-COM co-workers had the opportunity to meet face-toface and really think (or create) together. Simply put, these professionals were usually busy carrying out their everyday tasks and found little time for collaborative reflective work. In addition, these teams were spread out in different buildings, and in different areas of the city (as this research will show, physical distance between co-workers is an issue technology will not be able to solve entirely for the purposes of group work). Finally, and still according to Doti, as the lack of processes across divisions resulted in less integrated campaigns, it was imperative to bring co-workers together to improve and possibly even redesign CG-COM’s communication strategies. That was the most relevant concern, a clear goal to be borne in mind. As an example, imagine journalists responsible for publicising a given product (a TV show) in print media, and how much they could offer in content generation and creative ideas for the development of Globo’s online presence. Despite the fact that the products to be publicised were the same, print and online media were separate areas within Doti’s division, with different budgets and specific product development processes. Even though the desire to have these teams working across areas was already triggering practical responses in the department (the Editorial Production and Press division organised a one-day workshop in 2011 to allow co-workers to better know each other’s jobs as part of this strategy), procedures for effective collaboration were still embryonic. According to Doti, the department possibly needed someone with a ‘fresh mind’, probably someone from outside the company, to help with the design of new practices that would transform the perception of a unified team with common business objectives into reality. It was clear the issue was complex and relied on numerous factors including locality, corporate culture, product development processes, time resources, and technology. By the end of the presentation, it took just a short while for Doti to realise the potential this project could have in suggesting new paths towards the objective of bringing these groups of experts together. This first interview, which was initially expected to last no more than an hour, turned out to be more than 2 hours long. Almost instantly, the research ground for this project became the Editorial Production and Press division, its sixty-two co-workers, and their four distinct areas - Media, Press, Customer Services, and Website. Finally, by the end of the research it was expected that we could deliver suggestions on how to enhance the bonds these professionals had with each other, enabling effective collaboration, and consequently increasing the creative quality of the division’s work.
Visualising the organisation To build up a case study on the subject of creativity in the workplace, and to experiment with design thinking in the context of a large enterprise, a specific set of tools and techniques was applied. As the strategy was to involve as much as possible the company and its co-workers in this research, these tools needed to be engaging and still provide insightful perspectives that could be fed back to the teams - so the division would have the opportunity to learn from it and evaluate the process along the way. Bearing in mind the limitations of resources, mainly the availability of time, this collaboration between researcher and co-workers added a most relevant dimension pursued from the very start. Even though Doti was searching for a specific result at the end (i.e. effective ways of integrating people across areas for the purpose of designing more comprehensive communication strategies across multiple media), trusting the process was an experiment in itself. Therefore, Globoâ€™s co-workersâ€™ willingness to try out design techniques and tools was always under examination. Once again, it was not simply the issue of assessing how skilful people were at drawing, even though the ability to communicate visually was mostly desired. The first opportunity to try out visualisation techniques in the workplace happened spontaneously in the first interview with Doti. As she explained how the areas within her division were organised, she used a ballpoint pen and the back of a printed sheet of paper to draw the Editorial Production and Press organisation chart. Even though she was able to express the complexity of her perspectives very clearly, it would be risky to base the entire project on one
The diagram made on computer is easy to understand but no personal perspectives are revealed.
The diagram sketched by hand revealed personal points of view that were meaningful. Drawing was not a regular exercise in Andreaâ€™s daily work, but it certainly helped her to explain and imagine the processes she was hoping to implement in the division.
individual perception alone. As it is imperative for any effective system design to take into consideration the motivation of every stakeholder, the next step in this research needed to be to interview people in all teams and hierarchy positions to help inform the final outcome. Furthermore, these contextual interviews would also provide an opportunity to raise awareness about the ultimate goal of this project, and of how the plan was that it should be the result of a joint effort. To select which co-workers could collaborate at this stage, Doti invited managers Paula Lordello and Daniela Pereira to a meeting, so they could identify who represented diversity in their teams. Once again, I was presented with another opportunity to introduce the techniques of visualisation in the organisation, so it was suggested they use a piece of paper and colour markers instead of browsing their contact books to come up with names and phone numbers. It was clear to see that they were initially intrigued by the request. Without any directions from the researcher, managers Lordello and Pereira decided to design a line with two ends - at the one end, they listed those people they believed were the most flexible, and at the other, people that were efficient and professional, but usually more conservative when dealing with tasks uncommon to their daily routines. Therefore, it is fair to suggest they intuitively tried to portray convergent and divergent thinking in the organisation. In between the ends, they created personas (or qualities attributed to people) such as ‘the engaged’, ‘the critic’, ‘the enthusiast’, and so on. Of course, it was not possible to conclude whether their choices would have been different if they had just browsed their contact books. However, it is safe to say that a blank piece of paper prompted them to categorise interviewees in a way they had not thought of before.
Managers Daniela Pereira and Paula Lordello were requested to draw in order to select interviewees.
Work environments at the Editorial Production and Press division.
Acknowledging perspectives From the four areas (Media, Website, Press, and Customer Services), a group of sixteen people was selected to represent the entire division (director, managers, coordinators, editors, assistants, and technical support). Even though most co-workers had a background in journalism, some of them had also studied marketing, technology, photography, film and project management. Moreover, these teams were geographically spread out in quite different neighbourhoods throughout the city, and worked in very distinct environments. To organise all the information collected in more than seventeen hours of recorded interviews, I used sticky notes, writing down passages that seemed relevant (speech bubbles), adding the insights every interviewee inspired. At the end, these notes were reorganised into themes, revealing the issues exposed in both quality and quantity that were important for the design of a strategy that could bring these teams close together in the future.
The interviews were conducted with the director, managers, coordinators, assistants and technical support across all areas in CG-Comâ€™s Editorial Production and Press division.
It was to be expected that some issues brought to light during these interviews would be particular to specific contexts. For instance, in the Website area it was easy to keep a record of all the work produced by editors, as they used the same content management system (CMS) to edit and publish their stories. On the other hand, the lack of a platform with a single back-end interface in the Press made it laborious to retrieve all information produced in-house. So technology shaped procedures for the management of collaborative work in different ways. However, at the end of the interviewing phase it was possible to determine which subjects were recurrent throughout the division, even when different points of view addressed the same topics in unique and for the most part complementary ways. Comparing these findings to the brief delivered by Doti, it was actually remarkable how accurate her initial description was. Even so, nuances uncovered by co-workers and their motivations could inform a future outcome that a single person would simply not be able to elucidate. Therefore the investigation of these intersections suggested where value could be created. In short, the five most recurrent themes were as described in the next pages.
Workload / time resources A common subject in nearly every statement was the staggering workload and the lack of opportunity to think more strategically, and especially in collaboration. As previously stated, the amount of information systematically processed in these areas was overwhelming. In Brazil, only the federal government gains more coverage in the news than Globoâ€™s products and cast, as one coordinator attested. Even subjects such as the financial crisis or football (the most popular sport in the country) did not receive as much attention in the media as this company did. Perhaps the most striking consequence detected in this matter was the number of e-mails co-workers had to interact with. As the divisionâ€™s director reported, it was usual for them to reply to more than 300 messages in a single day.
“It depends” It seemed impossible to imagine a single working process that was equally valid in every circumstance (or demand) in their routine, as the work of these professionals was very much based on personal relationships - to their internal sources, such as TV casts and senior executives, as well as to external clients, such as journalists in media outlets. So of course there were processes in place, but these usually needed to be adapted to a myriad of situations - according to the subject, to whom they were related, to when they needed to be done, and finally to the desired outcomes. Furthermore, communication crises were triggered everywhere, some of them completely unpredictable. For instance, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup opening ceremonies in Germany, a World Trending Topic mocked Brazilian (and Globo’s) leading sports commentator Galvão Bueno on Twitter. The phrase Cala boca Galvão (‘Shut up, Galvão’) suggested he should simply stop commentating on the games. As the movement reached millions of users around the globe, these started wondering what the Portuguese words meant. Shortly after, a video was posted on YouTube, explaining that Galvão was an endangered species of birds, and ‘cala boca’ meant ‘to save them’. The video encouraged people to retweet the hashtag #CalaBocaGalvao, as it stated that ten American cents would be donated to a foundation engaged in the preservation of the species for every tweet. Obviously it was a joke, but it certainly damaged the image of Globo’s most important sports news personality. After the story reached the pages of The New York Times, a banner showing the words ‘Cala boca Galvão’ was rolled out during the first Brazilian game against Korea, and that was broadcast live to viewers worldwide. How could a communication crisis of those proportions be managed? What actions should be taken? Was it something negative that could be turned into a positive sentiment? It all depended on prompt judgements and decisions from the company’s executives, but also on whether Galvão would personally accept or dismiss the matter, pretending it had never happened. Therefore it was repeatedly mentioned in these interviews that one needed to have a deep understanding of the people involved in every job. Internal clients were politically powerful and often celebrities, so the particular and usually complex variables around them should be carefully taken into account. As Doti once acknowledged, Globo can hire the best professionals in the market, but these would still need to spend a good deal of time just to understand how to function in that reality. On many occasions people had to consult their superiors in order to carry out a given strategy, but they were also deeply encouraged to make decisions independently, so they had the freedom to work and deliver fast. It all depended.
Performance metrics It is easy to conceive that a website success is measured in page views and returning visitors, as well as a Facebook post is measured by interactions (shares, likes and comments), and an article in print media by the reputation of the outlet and the space given to a certain message or product (Advertising Value Equivalent System, or AVE). Therefore, as the aim was to integrate teams who dealt with different media, and to help them devise how to contribute to each other’s objectives, perhaps an extensive performance metric system should be designed. As one of the interviewees stated, “I would love to contribute more than I already do to the efforts of my colleagues in other areas, but at the end of the month my work will be measured in metrics that are specific to my area, not theirs”. Moreover, another puzzling factor for the establishment of a consistent measurement system was directly related to the overall success of the company and the popularity of its products. Bearing in mind how easily Globo outperformed its competitors in viewing rates, at times it was uncertain how a given program directly benefited from the division’s work. So how could their communication strategies always be consistently measured? Globo created its own benchmarks, which in some cases proved to lead to anxiety in the course of time.
Experiencing expertises The four areas within CG-COM’s Editorial Production and Press division exchanged information on a daily basis. For instance, it was frequent that Online Media co-workers asked for content produced by the Website team as a source to feed their social media profiles; likewise, Customer Services informed other areas with quantitative and qualitative reports, as they gathered direct feedback from viewers by phone and/or e-mail; in the same way, journalists in Press used interactive media as complementary platforms in their strategies. Despite the fact that every possible internal communication channel was always open, and that these co-workers did function as a powerful and passionate group, it was recurrently mentioned that people did not know how others operated. This reduced opportunities for collaboration. As one interviewee expressed, “Once I see the work published by others, I know that I could have contributed to that, but then it is too late”. Obviously, due to the amount of projects concurrently under development, it was unimaginable that everyone could know everything that was going on everywhere in detail. Each area had its own dynamics, its particular internal processes, and its specific technical limitations. So more than once it was suggested that teammates should experience daily work in different areas, so they could better understand each other’s difficulties and challenges.
Locality During secondary research, much was found on the kinds of environment conducive to creative work.
(video transcription excerpt) “(…) many creative workplaces today are designed to help people feel relaxed: familiar with their surroundings, comfortable with the people that they’re working with. It takes more than decor, but I think we’ve all seen that creative companies do often have symbols in the workplace that remind people to be playful, and that it’s a permissive environment”. Tim Brown ‘TED Partner Series, Serious Play: Tales of creativity and play’, May 2008
Although it was not the scope of this research to investigate whether CG-COM’s office designs contributed to or hindered creativity, interviewees often related to notions of ‘locality’. At first, one could believe employees were simply acknowledging how hectic their workplaces were. On one occasion, a coordinator even declared, “When I really need to think I prefer to go to the main office” (which was 23km away, and usually over one hour commuting in peak hours). The Press office close to the studios, where people regularly spoke on the phone simultaneously, not to mention the two or three TV sets constantly on, was particularly inappropriate for immersion or reflective work. Still, these workers’ statements carried a subtler connotation. It was apparent that the perception of being less or more valued in the organisation varied according to where they worked. As a press assistant said, “To give us an opportunity to work at the main office would be like a prize, even if it was only once a month; it is beautiful out here, but there is nothing else other than the studios, so if I need to buy nappies for my baby, I can’t just do it during lunch break”. The division’s director and managers spent most of their time at the main office, located in a rather privileged area of the city; they did not visit other offices as often as some interviewees would have liked them to. So physical distance was creating a gap in relationships.
Co-designing perceptions Internal mobile ethnography Allowing employees to document their daily practices in the way they choose “can deliver revealing insights about staff processes, experiences and opinions” (Stickdorn and Scheneider, 2011, p.172). The idea behind self-documentation is that removing the researcher from the field will not decrease the quality of the investigation. Rather, it will open up new opportunities for bringing in original perspectives that were not previously conceived. Therefore, a press assistant was asked to document her typical working day. Without offering detailed instructions on what to register, so the outcome would be as genuine as possible, the aim was also to visualise how often she interacted with her teammates. In addition, this constituted an attempt to understand what went on in the workplace, as the observation of people working behind desks offered little insight. The results of two days of selfdocumentation can be found in the next pages.
“Indeed I believe (the desk) is where the inception of creativity typically dies”. Steve Prince ‘Leave the desk behind’, October 2012
Data visualisation The factor of time was frequently described as a major obstacle that prevented creativity and collaboration. Noticeably, the high demand for execution interrupted processes for idea generation in the long term. As another coordinator acknowledged, â€œThere is always some urgent matter popping up in our mailboxes, so it is actually when I am home, maybe in the shower or doing the dishes, that the most creative ideas come to my mindâ€?. Therefore it seemed strategic to address the specific issue of time (and its management) in a future project within the division. Finally, to visualise the subject could actually enable people to emotionally connect and help them realise how much resource was actually being wasted on questionable routines.
Service journey In an attempt to portray the distance from the writers and TV directors in the Production Dept to the working teams at the base of the Communications Dept hierarchy, an assistant sketched a diagram. In this drawing, she used the word “Solar” to refer to the top of the pyramid (writers); “Sun” when it moved down to directors; and finally just “yellow” when it reached the managers. Bearing in mind her position and how briefs ‘travelled’ from the top to the bottom of the organisation’s structure, it seemed unlikely she could feel confident to contribute creative ideas for the development of communication campaigns. Obviously, she was expressing frustration and professional discontentment, but also a deep concern about the creative quality of the work delivered by her department. Finally, she was also questioning whether the project management practices at her workplace were the most suitable ones for the goals of the company. (During the interviews, this process from brief to idea generation was described in slightly different ways, which suggested perceptions varied according to factors that this research was not able to capture entirely. Therefore, the issue is still open to investigation and should be considered as a relevant subject to be addressed in the final service design presented at the end of this report.)
Service journey drawn by an assistant - how briefs travelled from the top to the bottom of the hierarchy.
â€œSWOT sketch previously designed for the evaluation of a future innovation program at an imaginary company.â€?
The views of an expert Innovation designer Sean Miller on ‘Burning Platforms’: “I think the way myself and others deliver the (workshop) sessions, a bit like as in the Geovation camps, is to make them as accessible as possible. We don’t make a big deal of it, and generally people feel comfortable, and that is the same in organisations”. “The hardest thing is a company’s attitude to risk. Particularly in big corporations, most people are nervous about disruptive ideas. For me, that’s the biggest barrier because that drives the behaviour within a company. It just freaks people out. If in a workshop you come up with 20 different ideas, I can almost guarantee that it’ll be the incremental ones that will get taken, not the disruptive ones, because they find it difficult to sell it in the organisation”. “Have you ever heard the saying ‘a burning platform’? If you are on a ship, and you have a platform where you jump off into the water, and it is on fire, you need to do something about that. The companies that have that kind of situation are the ones that make a decision in a meeting just like that – CEOs will tell their people “That is what we are going to do”, and things just happen. Some other organisations would just be stressed, they are going on lockdown, trying to consolidate what they’re doing rather than fighting”. (Excerpts from a Skype interview on 21st September 2012)
Prototyping Imagining a service towards innovation From the very beginning, when Doti agreed to embark on this journey, the idea was to create an ‘island of success’, i.e. an experiment within the Editorial Production and Press division that could inspire others at CG-COM. If the strategy were successful, it would serve as a valid methodology for the purpose of formulating creative practices in the corporate environment. In the end, it was desired this approach would result in innovative products, turning the ultimate goal of delivering cross-media communication into reality (ideally all divisions would work more closely together than at the time this research was carried out). Doti seemed particularly interested in an approach that could reproduce the positive experiences from the one-day workshop in 2011, when sixty-two co-workers had a chance to meet and chat to each other. She believed it was essential for the department that every professional should better understand how other areas functioned, which interviewees conclusively validated later. Therefore, the adoption of the World Café format was initially suggested for another possible gathering in the future. According to the World Café Community Foundation’s website this, “methodology is a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting large group dialogues” (theworldcafe.com, 2012).
World Café event at the World Resources Forum 2011, Davos, Switerzald. Credits: studenreporter.org
However, another workshop would not suffice for the development of deeprooted changes in the organisation. Ideally, it should be preceded by engaging activities and followed by periodic assessments. The strategy needed to be sustainable - therefore conceived as a system, not as an individual event. Only this way could CG-COM and its workforce truly benefit from it in the long term. Finally, many interviewees also expressed frustration about the lack of a continuing plan of action after the successful meeting in 2011.
Designers as provocateurs An uncomplicated prototype was created to test how visualisation techniques and inter-disciplinary collaboration could take place in such a frantic environment. The plan was simply to carry out a brainstorming session and evaluate how it differed from CG-COMâ€™s habitual practices. That would be the first step for the future design of a service that would support creative work across areas. This brainstorming session was then conceived as follows; 1. It should be divided in two parts, so participants were allowed at least a nightâ€™s sleep between them, which would provide team members with an opportunity to review their original concepts. Furthermore, each part should take no more than two hours, so it could easily fit in their daily activities. 2. It should preferably involve assistants only. Professionals in higher positions would possibly also be more inclined to convergent thinking, as they were managers and coordinators with more knowledge of the internal politics in the organisation. Finally, if valuable and innovative processes arose from the bottom up, it would supply leaders with compelling evidence that the horizontal hierarchy that was already advocated for should be strengthened. If so, other issues detected during the research would benefit as well (such as internal communication, participation in decisions, better project management practices, and the perception of belonging and well-being).
3. All areas needed to be represented, so different points of view would unmistakably be included. The session should also involve just a few people, because it was an experiment and needed to be closely managed and observed. Besides expertise, the final selection should also take into consideration the distinct personal motivations expressed in the previous interviews as well. 4. An inspiring challenge needed to be carefully chosen, so people would feel motivated to take part. As these co-workers are used to thinking of more sophisticated communication strategies for the launch of new products, looking into some of Globoâ€™s oldest programs that usually do not gain much attention could perhaps trigger imagination in different ways. Finally, as new launch campaigns have far bigger budgets than the older TV shows, it would be interesting to investigate how financial constraints informed their practices. 5. A framework should be provided, and it should be as closely related as possible to the specific needs of this team, which worked with the promotion of products in the entertainment industry. 6. Time to â€˜get in the moodâ€™ should be allowed, so these sessions could take place at any given time of the day without compromising the quality of the creative process. Therefore a short break between deskwork and brainstorming seemed valuable. In addition, meeting rooms already available at the office should also be quickly adapted to be used as the physical spaces for these brainstorming sessions, which would be impracticable in the future otherwise. 7. Phones should be turned off. If the intention was to create moments of immersive playfulness, no email alerts, phone calls, text messages and/or electronic reminders should be allowed in this environment. People needed to move away from their demanding activities for a while in order to play. They needed to be relaxed.
As the reader might have already deduced, this prototype points towards the role of the designer as someone who does not come up with conclusive solutions, but rather assists organisations in finding their own ways of becoming more innovative. Therefore designers are provocateurs. However, that does not mean they should only operate â€˜from the sidelinesâ€™. Instead, external designers have the unique opportunity to establish bonds with working teams that do not depend on internal politics, personal agendas, or organisational structures. If they are trusted, their relationships can be turned into valuable assets for the business as a whole. Finally, the service developed on the following pages is deeply humancentred. It uses empathy and intuition rather than management theories, and that is precisely why design can be effectively disruptive. The Business of Innovation is a continuous organic process, and it will always be about cultures.
Journalist Sérgio Chapelin was the first anchorman and still presents Globo Repórter to Brazilian viewers every Friday evening. Credits: Rede Globo de Televisão
The idea for the prototype was inspired by an interview with a press assistant.
Corporate practices for idea generation The subject chosen for the brainstorming prototype was ‘Globo Repórter’, one of Globo’s most traditional TV shows, aired for the first time in April 1973 (globo.com, 2010). Surprisingly, shortly after permission was granted to conduct the experiment, a manager from Corporate Communications invited the Editorial Production and Press teams to participate in another brainstorming session. Their goal was to start planning the program’s 40th Anniversary campaign for the next year. As the Corporate Communications division is responsible for putting together the final strategies and presenting them to their internal customers, it was a great opportunity to compare methods and observe CG-COM’s practices of collaboration. However, the concepts to be developed during the meeting were already suggested in the invitation. Of course, people exchanged ideas via emails, but it was doubtful that early propositions from colleagues in higher positions would contribute to creative collaborative work. In fact, it could even stifle creativity.
“(…) ‘Brainstorming’ has devolved to the point where it is more about ‘gaining consensus’ than coming up with innovative ideas (…) Finally the idea that in a corporate, hierarchical work environment, we can wash away peer-pressure, performance anxiety, and political gamesmanship by calling an exercise “brainstorming” and saying “no idea is a bad idea” - you’re out of your mind”. David Allen Ibsen ‘For the Love of Innovation, Stop Brainstorming!’, 2012
Not surprisingly, their original brainstorming session ended up generating three ideas, and these still needed to be refined.
The original brainstorming session generated three ideas at the end.
The Disney brainstorming method (Paul Sloane, 2011)
Time to play In our first brainstorming session prototype, markers and large pieces of paper were spread all around the room; mobile phones were turned off, and landline handsets disconnected and put on the floor. As no one in the room knew how to switch off the videoconference device, the screens were covered. There were cookies and sweets, and juice was also served. We started by dimming down the lights and watching TED’s presentation ‘Tim Brown: Tales of creativity and play’ (TED, 2008). The reason for this was to help people feel as comfortable as possible with the new setup. As Brown constructs an entertaining narrative for showing that we need to play to become more creative, it would hopefully assist members to take their minds off their daily tasks as well. Furthermore, as no archive footage had been shown in the original session, we also watched a few excerpts from past programs, to see whether the way in which Globo Repórter had experimented with different formats and evolved in the course of time could also be inspiring. Lastly, the Disney brainstorming method was explained. Although its origins are uncertain, apparently “it came from Disney Studios as a method of evaluating (…) and generating ideas for film scripts” (Sloane, 2011), offering an alternative to the usually more complex Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats idea generation method (Sloane, 2011). Moreover, the Disney method directly linked back to the entertainment industry, which could be positively intriguing in the participants’ eyes. If, “one way to get people to try something new is to build on behaviours that are familiar to them” (Brown, 2009, p.119), to establish a connection between the process and the industry these professionals worked in would possibly make the exercise easier to sell in the department. During the whole project I was very cautious when introducing the methods of design, because I did not want people to feel they were sacrificing time for a personal experiment unrelated to their work. It was imperative that everyone involved should benefit from this research.
Our brainstorming session, day 1
Our brainstorming session, day 2
“The three lenses of humancentred design (IDEO HCD Toolkit, 2nd Edition)”
Positive experiences and scepticism Our first two-hour session was mostly focused on the ‘dreamer’s view’ of the Disney method. Following the principle that the, “go for quantity, not quality” appears to be the essential component of brainstorming instructions” (Rossiter and Lilien, 1994, p.63), that was largely encouraged. Apparently, the participants were not used to thinking without constraints, but it did not take long before they started trusting the process. They also moved back and forth from moments of intense exchange of ideas to silent individual immersion. Besides encouraging them to draw, to go for quantity and not to exceed the period of time agreed, there was no other specific instruction as to how the initial idea generation phase should be carried out - at least as a first experiment, the primary focus was that they should just feel as comfortable as possible. The meeting was certainly gratifying - in the end the group was able to come up with thirty-four ideas, many of them going beyond the realms and expertise of their areas. In the second meeting I tried to continue dedicating time to the ‘dreamer’s view’, to test whether even more concepts could be created. However, the proposal seemed inadequate. Instead, the group preferred to move on to the next stages, evaluating what had previously been produced. This sustains the theory that time for effective initial idea generation, “should be kept remarkably short” (Rossiter and Lilien, 1994, p.68). So during this session some of the original concepts were discarded and others were combined (‘hitchhiking’) to form more consistent projects.
By the time of writing this report, a representative of this group had been waiting to be formally invited to another meeting with Corporate Communications in order to present the outcomes of these brainstorming sessions. However, six weeks had passed since the first meeting and not much had happened since then (they had tried to meet on several occasions, but time constraints were always against them). This corroborates many of the issues captured in the interviews, such as unproductive project management, ineffective systems for internal communication, staggering workload, and obviously a good deal about corporate culture. Even though feedback from superiors was limited at this point, participants asserted that the exercise had been extremely productive, especially because of stepping out of their routines; co-designing with workers from other areas resulted in an unusual diversity in projects. As one assistant stated, “having the opportunity to work with teammates from other areas really made me think differently”. So it was not simply about quantity, but rather about collaboration and playfulness as a way of inspiring new ideas in the organisation (in my opinion, no disruptive ideas were created during these sessions, but highlighting diversity was a positive start for a more comprehensive system to be designed in the future). On the other hand, it was also commented that, “the sessions were lovely, but in order to find time to participate in the process we had to work till late to catch up with the tasks that were left aside – I am tired of suggesting new approaches that usually get little or no response from the company, and I doubt we can find a way of turning this positive experience into reality”.
Ideas were rather written down on most occasions. Even though drawing is not a common practice among most journalists, playing with markers and large pieces of paper definitely contributed to idea generation.
Final service proposal A method for disruption and determination The methodology presented here to ignite sustainable innovative practices in large organisations is the result of the collaboration between CG-COM (the department) and the designer (the author). It is based on the principle that, “people are the experts” (IDEO, 2009, p.5), thus intended to allow “their desires to guide the creation and implementation of solutions” (IDEO, 2009, p.5). Therefore intuition and empathy are highly valued in this approach. Moreover, this proposal is rather meant as a reference, which can and should be adapted for the culture of every enterprise. Although the methodology is described in chronological stages – so that it is easily comprehensible and follows the strategy of starting small to grow stronger from within – in reality the design process is not a linear one. Therefore co-workers and designers are highly encouraged to take advantage of the positive accidental opportunities presented to them during the course of action (i.e. serendipity) in order to achieve desirable results.
Mind map for the new serviceÂ organisedÂ in stages.
1. Identify the design challenge Time: 2 hours Objectives: capture the initial brief Information: present the methodology of design thinking Emotion: empathy Visuals: try to get people to explain the challenge visually Methods / tools: service journey / contextual interview / stakeholder map / system map Documentation: ask for permission to record the meeting Although any person is able to formulate and/or inspire a design challenge, the first meeting should preferably be with a stakeholder in a high position in the hierarchy. This methodology intends to empower co-workers in lower positions and to promote flatter organisation structures, so it opens up the corporation, â€œto more innovation through the differences of opinions, viewpoints and ideasâ€? (Goessi, 2010). Nevertheless, having the support of a decision maker that truly embraces the concept is essential for the success of the approach. ! Do not establish a clear outcome at this stage, but identify a goal to pursue and be clear about the discovery process. Ask as much as necessary, and remember to listen carefully.
2. Ask for more inputs Time: 45 â€“ 60 mins Objectives: select interviewees for the next phase and align perspectives among the leadership Information: explain the approach (no need to go deep about the methodology) Emotion: playfulness Visuals: try to get them to draw â€˜diversityâ€™ Methods / tools: contextual interview / stakeholder map / personas Documentation: get permission to contact co-workers; ask to be introduced; define a name for the project; take photos of the meeting Spread the word: start to expand the project through the organisation
Involve managers and/or people that have direct relationships to co-workers on a daily basis in order to come up with a representative group that can contribute a variety of opinions. Use the opportunity to carry out a brief co-design session (drawing), so more people can start acquiring a better understanding of the methods used (visualisation and co-design). ! Do not make a big deal of the co-design session; introduce it as naturally as possible in the corporate environment.
3. Search for perspectives Time: 45 mins each Objectives: collect different points of view to investigate the initial brief and to inform the design challenge Information: explain the goals Emotion: use the opportunity to tell co-workers that the organisation is interested in making their work easier (or more enjoyable) / show empathy; create personal connections Disruption: give co-workers a voice Methods / tools: contextual interviews Documentation: get permission to record the interviews; take photos of work environments Spread the word: involve more people Interview co-workers in their environments, asking simple questions such as what they do and what makes their life difficult in this company. Reach for detail â€“ many accounts will probably be similar, but even so they are likely to reveal different perspectives as well. Be informal and show empathy, for it is important to gain their trust and make them realise you are more an ally than someone sent by the organisation to investigate their practices. ! Remember to guarantee confidentiality, stressing that under no circumstances will any information gathered during these interviews be disclosed to others without prior permission from the interviewees. If necessary, ask for the leaders to strengthen that message.
4. Validate the challenge Time: 2 â€“ 3 weeks Objectives: get insights and validate the challenge Methods / tools: service journey / stakeholder map / mind map / personas / storyboard / video editing Documentation: prepare visual documentation for later stages The designer is able to offer an external point of view that will contribute creative ideas to the challenge in the organisation. However, he/she should aim for a way of making discoveries more easily accessible, and not try to draw conclusions, especially at this stage. In this project, the concept is that the designer should facilitate innovative processes to arise from within the company instead of suggesting solutions. Furthermore, it is essential that team members be given a real opportunity to meet and co-design before any resolution can be determined. ! According to the discoveries made, select the most meaningful (or intriguing) subjects and try to imagine how they could be further explored through the techniques of visualisation. Find co-workers willing to contribute with visual materials and plan how their outcomes could eventually be used in a group presentation in the future.
5. Co-design Time: 1 - 2 weeks Objectives: to gather evidence and carry on with further exploration Information: explain the process briefly Emotion: playfulness / encouragement / satisfaction Disruption: introduce techniques that are usually uncommon in organisations; help people to become part of the design process and allow their creativity to become visible Methods / tools: user journey / mobile ethnography / system map Documentation: prepare visuals for later stages Spread the word: strengthen personal connections Co-designing engages people in the creative process and produces supportive visual evidence that can be used as a means of communication to share their insights (Tassi, 2009). It constitutes an opportunity for people to be creative and to experiment with methods that are usually uncommon in the context of enterprises. Moreover, as, â€œthe external figures are involved just in specific momentsâ€? (Tassi, 2009) of the process, the project will potentially benefit from unique perspectives that were not previously conceived. ! Remember that people have jobs to do; so do not devise approaches that are heavily time-consuming.
6. Brainstorming session prototypes Time: 2 x 2 hours (over 3 - 5 days) Objectives: to prototype for a larger co-design session in the future Information: learn a new method for idea generation Emotion: playfulness / sense of belonging Co-insight: people will have the opportunity to discuss issues in the organisation that are common to all Disruption: take part in the creative process; share experiences; collaboration across areas Methods / tools: customer journey / storyboard / group sketching / story telling / role playing / Lego serious playâ„˘ Documentation: photos / drawings Spread the word: get user feedback If innovative practices in businesses are to be sustainable, they need to result from continuous organic processes in the organisation. Depending on the quantity and size of the working teams, more or less steps will be necessary to create disturbance and disruption in a way that these will be embraced and not perceived as threats. People might, of course, feel apprehensive about changes, and it is also true that restructuring departments might lead to the loss of jobs in some cases. Therefore prototyping brainstorming sessions is a good way to get user feedback and refine the process; they offer a window for collaboration across areas in a controlled manner, providing moments of playfulness and most certainly gratification. ! A theme relevant to the participants is important when prototyping brainstorming sessions. Keep teams as small as possible, so they can be assisted at any time and closely observed to inform the next steps. Note: This research only reached this stage due to limitations in time. From this point on, the outcome designed is merely speculative, though deeply based on the discoveries made and in line with the objectives formulated in collaboration with Globo from the very start.
7. Report to the group in a general meeting Time: 2 hours Objectives: to communicate the process and select volunteers to participate in the next stage Information: feed back to users Emotion: empathy / playfulness Visualisation: presentation / video / visualisation Co-insight: people will have the opportunity to observe similar issues to theirs commented on by others they might not even know Disruption: participation in decision-making / horizontal hierarchy Methods / tools: user journey / group sketching / story telling / issue cards / service journey / role playing Documentation: graphic recorder / video / photos Spread the word: get user feedback / ask for volunteers At this point, a considerable amount of work has been produced. So it is the correct time to arrange all the material together and report back to the group. In order to do so, the designer might feel the need to get the go-ahead from the director, which is a positive strategy as long as nothing is shown in a private meeting without previous permission from the co-workers – confidentiality is crucial in order to build trust in any relationship and this will allow a better understanding of the real questions in the organisation. The designer should inform the process he/she went through in a general meeting to communicate the strategy and receive feedback. Bearing in mind people from all levels and areas will be present, this will allow them, “(…) the ability to participate and get a first hand understanding as to why and how decisions are made” (Goessi, 2010). Furthermore, it creates another opportunity for collaborative work and open debate. In the end, members will ideally feel involved and help prepare for the next phase. ! Think whether it is best to co-design this meeting or deliver it without the participation of superiors.
8. Prepare for the big show Time: 4 x 2 hours (over 2 – 3 weeks) Objectives: to define a strategy for the next event Information: learn the World Café and brainstorming methods Emotion: playfulness / sense of belonging Visualisation: service journey Co-insight: define ‘the five issues’ Disruption: participation in decision-making; collaborative creative work across areas and in all levels of the organisation Methods / tools: user journey / group sketching / story telling / role playing / Lego serious play™ Documentation: plan of action At this point, a group of colleagues from different areas and in different positions in the hierarchy should plan for the World Café event. This should be carried out as a brainstorming session – the designer will need to provide information on the method and the brainstorming techniques. Depending on the size of the company, there should not be more than five themes selected for the next step. ! Go for quantity! Play!
9. Deliver the World Café event Time: 1 x 2 hours (depending on the group size) Objectives: to promote an open dialogue between all co-workers in the division Information: learn methods for idea generation Emotion: ‘be in a group’ Visualisation: presentation, video, methods for visualisation Methods / tools: user journey / group sketching / story telling / role playing / Lego serious play™ Disruption: participation in decision-making; collaborative creative work in all levels of the organisation hierarchy Documentation: graphic recording / drawing / recorded interviews First of all, a communication strategy needs to be designed to promote the World Café event. It is important to raise awareness and involve people in the occasion, so they can start thinking about it in good time. The meeting should not be hosted by anyone in the company, so managers and employees share the same unbiased perspectives on an equal footing. Think of what could work as a good icebreaker for that specific group, and encourage people to participate. The idea is not only to create an open and safe space for dialogue, but also to inspire people to be critical and creative about their workplaces in the long run. (The method’s guidelines are explained on the World Café Community Foundation website available from www.worldcafe.com) ! Colleagues that have been involved in the previous phases could perhaps become ‘table hosts’. Take advantage of the lunch break to allow people from different areas to carry on with their debates in a relaxed and enjoyable manner. Host the event on a weekend, so you help people to take their minds off their daily tasks. Choose a venue that is not part of the company’s environments (large conference rooms and hotels would be suitable for this). Be creative!
opportunities for idea generation
10. Share co-insights Time: 5 - 8 days (depending on the size of the organisation) Objectives: to reinforce the message of innovation / to share co-insights / to think of the next steps for implementation / to show commitment from leadership Information: learn from the group Visualisation: graphic recordings / interviews / idea generation Methods / tools: collective voting Documentation: reports and videos (for internal groups) / presentations and videos (for stakeholders in other departments) The same group that helped envisioning the World CafĂŠ event in phase 8) have now to collect votes in the workplace to select the best ideas for possible implementation. An exhibition with all suggestions organised into themes / issues / approaches should de displayed in all the different offices (or any other physical installations where people work) allowing all managers and employees to see what has been produced and to stimulate further participation (anonymous voting). A video report of the World CafĂŠ event should also be produced in order to document the occasion for internal groups and stakeholders in other departments. Ideally all directors should embrace the process, so the strategy becomes even more consistent and innovative practices can be experimented with throughout the organisation. This provides another opportunity to emphasise the importance of collaboration. The working teams should not only contribute in the earlier phase, but also feel that they can influence change within their organisation. ! Be clear on how ideas are going to be selected, so there is no doubt that it is the result of a collective process. Start thinking what the next steps will be. Lastly, remember this strategy is an experiment, so do not give up and get frustrated too soon. Get feedback from users, evaluate the process, and plan how it can be improved in the course of time.
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oncreativity (2012) Oncreativity.tv - George Lois interview - part 1 [internet]. Available from: <http://youtu.be/VShmtsLhkQg> [Accessed 12 June 2012]. Ordnance Survey (2012) ‘Geovation Blog: Wales coast path’ [internet blog]. Available from <http://www.geovation.org.uk> [Accessed 26 June 2012]. Paul Sloane (2011) How to use the Disney method - brainstorm technique [internet]. Available from: <http://youtu.be/hE2fZYTdIqA> [Accessed 24 September 2012]. Rede Globo (2010) ‘Site de Imprensa’ [internet]. Avaliable from: <http:// imprensa.globo.com> [Accessed 8 September 2012]. RiverheadBooks (2010) Where good ideas come from by Steve Johnson [internet]. Available from: <http://youtu.be/NugRZGDbPFU> [Accessed 11 June 2012]. RocketRaccoon (2006) I love p2p. [online image]. Available at: <http://www.flickr. com/photos/rocketraccoon/227241974> [Accessed 14 November 2012]. Rossi, A., dir. (2011) Page one: inside the New York Times. USA: Participant Media and History Films, 92 mins. [Video: streaming]. Sanders, L., (s.d) ‘Maketools papers’ [internet]. Available from: <http://www. maketools.com/papers.html> [Accessed 8 July 2012]. Smart, P. (2012) ‘Solve 50 Problems in 50 Days’ [internet]. Available from: <http://50problems50days.com> [Accessed 13 July 2012]. Tassi, R. (2009) ‘Service design tools: communication methods supporting design processes’ [internet]. Available from: <http://www.servicedesigntools. org> [Accessed 21June 2012]. TEDtalksDirector (2010) Temple Grandin: the world needs all kinds of minds [internet]. Available from: <http://youtu.be/fn_9f5x0f1Q> [Accessed 12 August 2012]. TEDtalksDirector (2008) Tim Brown: tales of creativity and play [internet]. Available from: <http://youtu.be/RjwUn-aA0VY> [Accessed 10 June 2012]. Walker, L., dir. (2010) Waste land. Brazil and U.K.: Almega Projects and O2 Filmes, 99 mins. [Video: Blu-ray]. World Café Community Foundation (s.d) ‘World café method’ [internet]. Available from: <http://www.theworldcafe.com/method.html> [Accessed 2 October 2012]. wuvwebs (2012) John Cleese on creativity [internet]. Available from: <http:// youtu.be/VShmtsLhkQg> [Accessed 12 June 2012].