Assignment 3 – Better by design

The purpose of Assignment 3 was to explore co-creating work with and in response to the wants and needs of its audience.

Key words from the brief:

  • Undertake a self-directed project
  • A live project that responds directly to existing design needs
  • Continue to address areas you want to develop from your personal statement
  • Focuses on the process as much as the outcomes
  • Aim to produce a body of research, ideas and finished outcomes appropriate to your project
  • Think about how you’ll identify, target and get feedback from an audience to support your creative process
  • Reflect on how you’ve developed your thinking about your audience, at what points in your creative process, and what you’ve learnt from them
  • Summarise your findings in a short evaluation
  • Actively aim to get feedback from fellow students

Choosing a project

I had three potential projects and used a gap analysis to identify the most suitable candidate.

There were:

  1. Continued development of the Pandemic Diary project
  2. Support agile transformation
  3. Agile leadership book illustrations

I created a rhizome map to identify links between these projects and the values in my personal statement.

Fig X – Visual rhizome map

Gap analysis

OptionStrengthsWeaknesses
Develop pandemic diary in some wayI have loads of material to work with
There is lots of opportunity for user/audience feedback
It links to my Visual Research assignment
I could tie this back to many (but not all) of the values in my personal statement
I can’t convincingly answer why I want to develop this work
I have no idea what the solution is
I would have to find and engage with my audience/users
Support agile transformationThis is ‘real’ work with quantifiable impact
It would develop my relationship for visual work with an existing client
The work would be collaborative and involve cycles of test and learn
There is a ‘current’ requirement that I could develop immediately
The personal voice may be constrained somewhat
There would probably be limits to how much I could share with the OCA – I would need to clarify this
Agile leadership book illustrationsThis is ‘real’ work with quantifiable impact
It would develop my relationship for visual work with an existing client
The work would be collaborative and involve cycles of test and learn
This project is not mature enough for me to develop within my timescale
I will progress with this at a slower pace

I selected Support agile transformation because it was an immediate and ‘live’ experiment with audience needs at its heart.

Support agile transformation

Context

A large bank initiated a programme of work to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its people. Along with a small team of coaches learning and development experts, my role was to provide support to one area of the business in their transformation initiatives.

What is interesting about this is how I was able to bring my visual skills directly into the work and see it used to communicate a storyline and initiate change.

The work was an act of co-creation that used rapid creative iterations in response to user feedback, often artworking ‘on the fly’ and refining later.

Duration of the work

I found this a bit of a challenge because the illustrations were continually evolving in response to user needs.

For the purpose of this assignment I drew under the work after 3-months and am presenting what had been done by that point. This means that some of the work presented is unfinished, some of it is quite unrefined and chunks of it failed.

This is totally in line with an agile approach that advocates starting small, testing on customers and changing and refining in response to their needs. The approach could be summed up as “fail fast and learn fast”.

Scope of work

There were three discreet but interconnected pieces of work:

  1. Agile Leadership visual identity
  2. Agile Leadership research outputs
  3. Agile Leadership experiments

Working process

Much has been written about lean agile. I will not repeat it here but just illustrate my take on the key differences between an agile approach and more ‘traditional’ processes.

Fig X – Diagram explaining the agile working process

Probably the biggest change is that the design and artworking steps are collapsed together as much as possible.

Principles

Agile has a number of principles. These are the ones I think are important:

  • Start where you are – this avoid procrastination, starts an immediate dialogue with customers/end users, and provides the earliest possible feedback.
  • Focus on doing the minimum to deliver the required customer value.
  • Regular and frequent feedback increases the chance that the work will be successful.
  • There is no such thing as failure, just feedback.
  • Fail fast and learn fast.