The SCREAM! Tool: Preventing Design Waste Through ‘Communicating The Process’ Abstract Inge van Ee
University of Amsterdam
University of Applied Science
New Media Researcher
Game developer firstname.lastname@example.org
Abdelrahman Hassan King’s College London
Developer and Researcher email@example.com
Kyushu University Industrial designer
Gal Agmon Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design Jerusalem Ui / UX designer firstname.lastname@example.org
A recurring problem in the design process of Multidisciplinary Design Teams is the notion of design waste. Design waste happens when parts of the valuable work of the Multidisciplinary Design Team are lost or unavailable for creative reuse. Therefore teams are not able to build upon others work and keep reinventing the wheel. This takes time, creates double work and impedes the creation of better products. This paper proposes an addition to the SCREAM! approach that will make ‘communicating the process’ with others more effective and subsequently should prevent design waste in- and outside the Multidisciplinary Design Teams.
Author Keywords design waste; multidisciplinary design teams; design thinking; documentation; process
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Introduction Due to societal changes there has been an increasing demand for ‘T’ shaped professionals who are able to apply 21st century skills to the creative process of solving design challenges . These skills include among others “collaborative working, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving” . Working in multidisciplinary teams makes learning, applying and developing these skills most suitable. Therefore Van Hout en Gootjes proposed the SCREAM! approach for Multidisciplinary Design Teams that allows multidisciplinary teams to learn, apply and develop these 21st century skills during the design process . A recurring problem in the design process of Multidisciplinary Design Teams is the notion of design waste. Design waste happens when parts of the valuable work of the Multidisciplinary Design Team are lost or unavailable for creative reuse. Therefore teams are not able to build upon others work and keep reinventing the wheel. This takes time, creates double work and impedes the creation of better products. This paper proposes an addition to the SCREAM! approach that will make ‘communicating the process’ with others more effective and subsequently should prevent design waste in- and outside the Multidisciplinary Design Teams. Theoretical framework The term Multidisciplinary (Design) Team is defined in different contexts and in different fields. There has been academic literature published about multidisciplinary (design) teams in the context of engineering, project management and in the medical field. In this paper a Multidisciplinary Design Team is defined as a team of creatives who combine “multiple sources of knowledge, ways of working, and perspectives on problems” . According to Evers combining different disciplines and different skills does not automatically mean that these teams achieve success. Problems such as “define collective
objectives”, “develop team-based insight”, “streamline communication” and “manage decision-making” can arise during the process . However the problem of design waste and how it is defined in this paper has not been discussed in academic literature thus far. In the context of engineering there has been published literature about concepts that are related to the notion of design waste. Kleinsmann and Valkenburg for example discuss the benefits of creating a shared understanding. A shared understanding will enable the multidisciplinary teams “to integrate and explore their knowledge, and to achieve the larger common objective” . This can be difficult, because the team members are all viewing the objective from different backgrounds, disciplines and with different interests . The integration of data, information and knowledge is necessary to design and create new products . Problems that can occur while researching and designing, are negative iteration and design errors  Knowledge is either forgotten or neglected or not possessed in the first place . These problems are wasteful, because they “can be eliminated without loss of value or causing failure to complete the project” . Therefore it is important to reuse design knowledge. Design knowledge is defined as a combination of “documentation”, “past designs”, “complex methodologies” as well as “a whole range of informal and formal sources developed through discussions and meetings” . Defining design waste In order to understand where and when 'design waste' occurs in design processes, it is critical that these processes are mapped out. The SCREAM! approach is based on the agile work frame named SCRUM. However SCRUM does not provide the Multidisciplinary Design Teams with enough space for creative input and applied research . An important element that was added to the approach, to enable creativity and applied research, is the Design Method Toolkit. The Design Method Toolkit consists of a set of 60 methods that are most suitable
for researching and designing . Using the methods will generate different sorts of digital and non-digital documentation such as post-its from a brainstorming session, a summary from reviewing literature or results from user testing. There are two sorts of problems that occur during this part of documenting the process. The first problem is related to shareability and findability. This problem occurs because of the fragmentation of the documentation. Multiple tools and platforms are used to create documentation, therefore it is sometimes difficult to share and find the documentation. In the context of healthcare fragmented documentation is defined as “instances in which information was known by some team members but not documented and, consequently, not adequately shared across the team” . This is even more complex when sharing the documentation with others outside the Multidisciplinary Design Team. Besides that, when the documentation is communicated to others, one has to overcome the complication of not finding the valuable information. This is firstly related to the given that documentation often exists out of different elements of which some parts of the information may be valuable for reuse and others might not be. Secondly finding the valuable information is problematized through semantics. This leads to the second problem that is related to creating a shared understanding. As stated before, a Multidisciplinary Design Team exists of members from different backgrounds, disciplines and with different interests. This can make it complicated to understand documentation created by others. Therefore the teams are not able to create a shared understanding and this will make it hard to design and create a new product. For another team member to understand the process there needs to be additional information added to the “raw” documentation. Hicks et al define this as “metaknowledge” . This problem gets even more complex when others outside of the Multidisciplinary Design Team want to reuse the knowledge, because they do not know the context of the project.
The above described phenomenon is defined in this paper as design waste. Design waste happens when parts of the valuable work of the Multidisciplinary Design Team are lost or unavailable for creative reuse. In this paper we state that documentation therefore plays an important role in preventing design waste. Documentation is defined here as the collection of documents generated throughout the creative process of solving a design challenge. Therefore we focused on creating an addition to the SCREAM! approach that will allow the Multidisciplinary Design Teams to add a layer to their documentation efficiently and effectively. This will make it easier to share, find and reuse the knowledge. Methods and results Multiple methods were used to come up with solutions to prevent design waste. Mostly used methods were concept sketching, wireframing and user testing. Through a conversation tool based on the card sorting technique and the WWWWWH method, we got a better perspective on the participants’ perceptions of and preferences for creating documentation. The participants were 12 interns from the MediaLAB Amsterdam, who had been using the SCREAM! approach for over one month. Based on these tests we state that participants:
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use many sorts of tools and platforms to document, depending on personal preference; do not always realize that they are creating documentation; are mostly creating documentation for themselves, because it enables them to sort their ideas, thoughts and insights. do not create documentation for the purpose of sharing it; do not always see the added value of sharing documentation with others that are not directly related to the project;
In order to come up with a solution for preventing design waste, it was needed to change Multidisciplinary Design Team’s mindset from creating documentation for others to “communicating the process” for themselves which might subsequently benefit others as well. This change of mindsets is needed to achieve a sharing community. Communicating the process is defined here as adding a layer of context to the existing documentation. The SCREAM! tool The SCREAM! tool is a web-based platform where Multidisciplinary Design Teams are able to communicate their process (Figure 1). The added layer of context should benefit both the reader and the writer. This is achieved through different elements that should reduce the two occurring problems that were mentioned before. The writer will communicate the process through four phases (Figure 2). The first phase is the phase of starting up the project. A project can consist of different sprints. For each sprint the writer goes through the three other phases. The second phase is about planning the sprint. In this phase the writer is able to set the goals to be achieved during this sprint and find the relevant methods from the Design Method Toolkit. The third phase is the workspace where the writer is able to collect, write and sort ‘events’ and insights. Even though we believe that planning a sprint can be very helpful for a creative process, surprisemoments can lead to even more inspiring insights. Dorst and Cross define this as follows: “creative design involves a period of exploration in which problem and solution spaces are evolving and are unstable until (temporarily) fixed by an emergent bridge which
Figure 1 - Landing page of the SCREAM! tool
occurs as the moment of insight at which a problemsolution pair is framed [...]”. According to our approach ‘events’ are moments in the process that help you gain insights. This could be design and research methods, but as well meetings, activities, workshops, discussions, presentations, inspirational moments etc. In the last phase the writer is able to ‘connect the dots’. Inspiration for this phase was gotten from Steve Jobs interview in Wired Magazine in 1996. According to Jobs “creativity is just connecting things” and “that’s because [creative people] were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things” .
The SCREAM! tool will make overcoming the two problems that occur during the design process easier for different reasons. Changing the ways in which the members of the teams document their process was not preferred, since they all have their personal preferences. Therefore it was decided to create a stand-alone platform that helps the teams share and find the information located in one space through an added layer. The added layer exists of contextualized information and therefore the user does not have to scan through all the “raw” documents. The added layer creates structure and therefore allows a shared understanding between different writers and readers about where to find which information. The writers will benefit, since they are able to extract key insights through sorting their thoughts, ideas and insights. The readers will benefit, because they are able to find relevant information easier.
Figure 2 - The four phases of the SCREAM! tool
Dym et al state that “[w]hile creativity is important, and may even be teachable, design is not invention as caricatured by the shouting of “Eureka” and the flashing of a light bulb” . In the ‘connecting the dots’ phase the writer is therefore able to combine the ‘events’ to formulate key insights, draw conclusions and take next steps in the project. The reader can subsequently benefit from this, because there is added an extra layer to the original documents through the ‘events’, insights and the extracted key insights. Inspired by the abstract used in academic research, the reader is able to first scan the sprints in a project through the sprint summary (Figure 3). This sprint summary exists of the aim, the minimal viable product and the conclusion of the sprint. The further process of the sprint is presented to the reader through the key insights that are formulated by the writer in the ‘connecting the dots’ phase.
Figure 3 - The structure of the reader's sprint page
Conclusion The integration of knowledge is important for creating new products. A shared understanding needs to be maintained in the Multidisciplinary Design Team to be able to integrate knowledge. Reusing knowledge will help the teams overcome negative iterations and design errors. However not sharing, finding nor understanding information will complicate reusing knowledge. The above-described phenomenon is defined in this paper as design waste. Design waste happens when parts of the valuable work of the Multidisciplinary Design Team are lost or unavailable for creative reuse. Therefore an addition to the SCREAM! approach, that will make ‘communicating the process’ with others more effective, is proposed. Creating incentive for both the readers and the writers will create a sharing community and subsequently should prevent design waste inand outside the Multidisciplinary Design Teams.
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