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Facilitating Complexity: Methods & Mindsets for Exploration

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An updated presentation delivered at PwC in Melbourne Australia

Will Evans explores the convergence of practice and theory using Lean, Design Thinking, Theory of Constraints, and Service Design with global enterprises from NYC to Berlin to Singapore. He works with a select group of clients undergoing Lean and Agile transformations across the entire organization. Will earned his Jonah® from AGI, and serves on the Board of Advisors for Rutgers CX (Customer Experience). Formerly, he was Design Thinker-In-Residence at NYU Stern.

Will was previously the Managing Director of TLCLabs, the world's leading Lean Design Innovation consultancy where he brought LeanUX, Lean and Kanban to large media, finance, and healthcare companies.

Before TLC, he led experience design and research for TheLadders in New York City. He has over 15 years industry experience in design innovation, user experience strategy and research. His roles include directing UX for social network analytics & terrorism modeling at AIR Worldwide, UX Architect for social media site Gather.com, and UX Architect for travel search engine Kayak.com. He worked at Lotus/IBM where he was the senior information architect, and for Curl - a DARPA-funded MIT project when he was at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science.

Will is passionate about coffee, so much so that he started his own brand of organic single-origin coffee beans. He Co-Founded and Co-Chaired the LeanUXNYC conference, Founded the AgileUX NYC conference, and was also the User Experience track chair for the Agile 2013/2014 conferences.

Publié dans : Direction et management
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Facilitating Complexity: Methods & Mindsets for Exploration

  1. 1. On Facilitation Methods and Mindsets for Exploration WILLIAM EVANS Copyright © 2016-2018 William Evans
  2. 2. “For apart from inquiry, apart from the praxis, individuals cannot be truly human. Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.” - PAU LO F RE IRE
  3. 3. Outline 1. Assumptions 2. Boundaries 3. Context 4. Framing 5. Divergence 6. Externalization 7. Convergence 8. Dissent 9. Take-Aways
  4. 4. Assumptions We all exist and work within complex social systems. We are all responsible for the design, development, and maintenance of purposeful systems. To build a great team, you must have an organization design that enables teams to design great customer experiences. Before you can design an amazing customer experience, you must design a team to create the customer experience. The most accute constraint organizations current face is that their organizational design is incongruent with their strategy; places to many policies, procedures, reporting lines, and queues between the teams delivering great experiences for their customers. “Rational discussion is useful only when there is a significant base of shared assumptions.” – Noam Chomsky
  5. 5. On Doubt “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.” — Sir Francis Bacon
  6. 6. The process by which theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, practiced, embodied, realized, reified and reflected in & through action. Facilitation is ultimately about guiding agents through the praxis of purposeful action. On Praxis SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  7. 7. Ontological Design is the design of ways of being — not just the purposeful creation of mental scafolding, but rather facilitating the evolution of human capability within social systems. Social systems focused on catalyzing, facilitating, and enabling situated and embodied human cognition and action. Ontological Design “To begin simply, ontological designing is a way of characterising the relation between human beings and lifeworlds.” - Anne-Marie Willis
  8. 8. Problematizing Facilitation Think about the last exploration session, meeting, brainstorming meeting that you held. Think about what the purpose of that meeting was. Think about: § Who facilitated it? § Why were you there? § What decisions had to be made?
  9. 9. Use Post-its § On Post-its § 1 idea per post-it § 3-5 Words § All Caps
  10. 10. Question One Write on a post-it silently*: What problem arose during facilitation, which prevented the group from moving forward, for which there was a simple, easy solution that everyone could see? * Do not discuss. Brainstorm quietly. 1 MINUTE
  11. 11. Question Two Write on a post-it silently: What problem arose during facilitation, which prevented the group from moving forward, which required someone with deep expertise? 1 MINUTE
  12. 12. Question Three Write on a post-it silently: What problem arose during facilitation, which prevented the group from moving forward, which required the meeting to gather more data before a positive outcome could be achieved? 1 MINUTE
  13. 13. Question Four Write on a post-it silently: What problem arose during facilitation, which caused the whole session to go sideways, where there was no clear outcome, no goal, and people just felt like they were wasting time? 1 MINUTE
  14. 14. BOUNDARIES “There was a wall. It did not look important. It was built of uncut rocks roughly mortared. An adult could look right over it, and even a child could climb it. Where it crossed the roadway, instead of having a gate it degenerated into mere geometry, a line, an idea of boundary. But the idea was real. It was important. For seven generations there had been nothing in the world more important than that wall. Like all walls it was ambiguous, two-faced. What was inside it and what was outside it depended upon which side of it you were on.” — Ursula Le Guin, The Dispossessed SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  15. 15. Setting Boundaries § Be on time § No laptops or cellphones § Respect each other (Don’t dominate conversations, Don’t talk over someone). § Write your questions on post-its § Chatham House Rules § Follow instructions § No laptops or cellphones. M ET A: “Is there any reason you can’t be 100% present for the entirety of the next 90 minutes?.” “The purpose of this session is to create Options, not Solutions.” “Do we have the right people in the room?”
  16. 16. “Ultimately, all organizations are socio-technical systems in which the manner of external adaptation and the solution of internal integration problems are interdependent” — Edgar Schein Sensemaking Systems FROM “ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND CULTURE,” EDGAR SCHEIN
  17. 17. Discuss Problems With the people at your table, present all the problems that people came up with on their post-its. Try to quickly process all the post-its while giving enough time for people to understand the nature of the problem. 1 MINUTE
  18. 18. CO M P LEX Cause and effect are only coherent in retrospect and do not repeat Pattern management Perspective filters Complex adaptive systems Probe-Sense-Respond Exploring Complexity CO M P LI CAT ED Cause and effect separated overtime and space Analytical / Reductionist Scenario Planning Systems Thinking Sense-Analyze-Respond CH AO S No cause and effect relationships perceivable Stability-focused intervention Enactment tools Crisis Management Act-Sense-Respond OB V I OUS Cause and effect relations repeatable, perceivable, and predictable Legitimate best practice Standard operating procedure Process reengineering Sense-Categorize-Respond
  19. 19. FROM “EXPLORATION VERSUS EXPLOITATION IN DESIGN- DRIVEN ENTERPRISES,” WILL EVANS M Y ST ER Y H EUR I ST I C ALGO R I T H M Exploring Complexity
  20. 20. “The notion of context has been adapted to computing from its original use referring to language, which is reflected in the structure of the word itself: con(with) text, either written or oral, intended to be interpreted by one or more people. The text is not an encapsulated representation of meaning, but rather a cue that allows the anticipated audience to construct appropriate meanings.” - TERRY WINOGRAD SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  21. 21. Three Horizons View FROM “EXPLORATION VERSUS EXPLOITATION IN DESIGN-DRIVEN ENTERPRISES,” WILL EVANS
  22. 22. Dispositions to Domain WARDLEY, SIMON, “ON PIONEERS, SETTLERS, TOWN PLANNERS AND THEFT.”
  23. 23. Situational Dynamics WARDLEY, SIMON, “ON PIONEERS, SETTLERS, TOWN PLANNERS AND THEFT.”
  24. 24. Contextual Awareness What are requisite variety of dispositions and practices for pioneers (heretics), as well as the processes and methods deployed which are fundementally different in the Complex Domain?
  25. 25. Contextual Awareness What are requisite variety of dispositions and practices for pioneers (heretics), as well as the processes and methods deployed which are fundementally different in the Complex Domain? It’s about the movement between domains, and the interactions between teams and across domains where novelty can turn into capability.
  26. 26. Contextual Awareness What are requisite variety of dispositions and practices for pioneers (heretics*), as well as the processes and methods deployed which are fundementally different in the Complex Domain? It’s about the movement between domains, and the interactions between teams and across domains where novelty can turn into capability. Exploration is expensive, and must be managed through the appropriate application of constraints.
  27. 27. Mapping § Spend 10 minutes clustering all the problems together that seem to be similar. § All the ones where the problem / solution was relatively obvious. § Ones that required an expert to help out. § Ones that needed more information, more data, perhaps some experimentation. § Ones that seemed completely hopeless, no one knew what to do, why they were there, what the goal was. 10 MINUTES
  28. 28. Constraints “Just as the constraints of syntax allow meaning to be expressed, constraints on behavior thus make meaningful actions possible.” - A LIC IA J U A RRE RO FROM “ENABLING CONSTRAINTS,” ALICIA JUARRERO, LEANUX15
  29. 29. Constraints •Within different groups, introduce new constraints related to context, channel, customer, budget, timeframe to spur new ideas. •Introducing different contexts can catalyze exaptative innovation (application of a solution from one context into a totally new context). Ex a m pl e : “You team’s solution cannot rely upon digital devices, smart phones, or the internet. Only analog solutions you can buy at a hardware store.” “Your concept cannot use language or words to provide affordance to the customer/user.” “Your concept should be something the team can execute in 5 days.”
  30. 30. “A frame is, simplistically, a point of view; often, and particularly in technical situations, this point of view is deemed “irrelevant” or “biasing” because it implicitly references a non-objective way of considering a situation or idea. But a frame – while certainly subjective and often biasing – is of critical use to the designer, as it is something that is shaped over the long-term aggregation of thoughts and experiences.” — Jon Kolko
  31. 31. Timeboxing The first constraint to apply in facilitating co-creative activities in the complex domain is time. It is better to have 4 cycles of 10 minutes than 1 60 minute cycle.
  32. 32. Externalization By taking ideas, concepts, perspectives out of the cognitive domain (your head), removing it from the linguistic realm (oral/aural/ talk), and making it tangible in the physical world in one cohesive visual structure (post-it, sketch, wall), designers are freed of the natural memory limitations of the brain and teams can begin to map visualizations to internal patterns and mental models. Ex a m pl e : Sketch concepts that solve for the problem. No bulleted lists, no sentences. Just sketches that solve the problem. If it’s not in the sketch, the element doesn’t exist.
  33. 33. Divergence Abduction goes upon the hope that there is sufficient affinity between the reasoner’s mind and nature’s to render guessing not altogether hopeless, provided each guess is checked by comparison with observation… The effort should therefore be to make each hypothesis…as near an even bet as possible.” — charles pierce Ex a m pl e : Quantity over quality. Generate at least 6 different concepts that solve for the problem. Each concept must be unique.
  34. 34. Assent and Expansion In the first few rounds of critique, only positive aspects of the concepts can be commented on. Similar to Improv’s “Yes, and…” Absolutely nothing negative can be said. Only positive additions to the design. Ex a m pl e : “Highlight two concepts you absolutely love, or elements that you would steal, integrate into your own concept.”
  35. 35. Cognitive Displacement In the second round of generative ideation, it’s important to seed the ideas of one person into the head of another. The easiest way to do this is through “Cognitive Displacement,” or having a person pitch a designed concept they have not created. Ex a m pl e : “Hand your concept to the person to your left. You cannot explain it and you cannot look them in the eye. They have 5 minutes to pitch your concept back to you.” This allows the person who’s work is being presented to check their concept for coherence and identify gaps in their communication. It also has the benefit of building empathy.
  36. 36. Convergence Convergence is the slow contraction of available options through the application of constraints and the checking for coherence. Does a concept or designed element make sense? How does it solve the problem? Of all possible options, which are most elegant? Ex a m pl e : You have 4 minutes, using coloured dots, to indicate only the designs and elements that should be carried forward to the next round. These may be integrated with other concepts, with weaker ideas falling behind.
  37. 37. Ritual Dissent “A complex problem is not the sum of its parts. It cannot be broken down with each solution aggregated; it must be solved as a whole. Another issue is that of entrainment, especially in consensus- seeking environments. The more time we spend in a group, the more groupthink sets in, and we can create our own reality, only to suffer a rude awakening when we engage with the external world.” — Dave Snowden FROM ” EVERYTHING IS FRAGMENTED—THE ART OF “RITUAL DISSENT”, DAVID SNOWDEN
  38. 38. Ritual Dissent • The approach involves a spokesperson (for a team) presenting a series of concepts to a group of stakeholders who listens in silence. • Spokesperson only has 5 minutes to prepare, 5 minutes to present • Team must imagine they are a group of stakeholders hearing a pitch to fund a new initiative to be added to the portfolio • No questions can be asked of the spokesperson • Spokesperson must face away from stakeholders, and listen whilst taking notes. They cannot challenge any critique. • Stakeholders must find all the things wrong with the concept, why it solves no problem, the problem is not worth solving, the concept is not elegant, requires too many resources, etc… • Absolutely nothing positive can be said about the solution • Only dissent the concept, not the people. FROM ” EVERYTHING IS FRAGMENTED—THE ART OF “RITUAL DISSENT”, DAVID SNOWDEN
  39. 39. SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE ACTIVITY Phase EXPLORE Research SELECT Synthesis EXPERIMENT Ideation SELECT & SCALE Execution A Solving the right problems Solving problems the right way WE KNOW Should Be WE GUESS Could Be B
  40. 40. Design Studio Process 1. Framing the Problem 2. Solo Ideation (Silent, 8 Concepts) 5 minutes 3. Generative Critique (Yes, and…) 5 minutes 4. Steal & Integrate 5. Solo Ideation (Silent, 1 Concept, 5 minutes) 5 minutes 6. Cognitive Displacement (Pitch another’s concept) 5 Minutes 7. Solo Ideation (1 Concept, 10 minutes) 8. Transference & Seeding 9. Synthesis (Team Design, 1 Concept) 30 minutes 10. Ritual Dissent (Only Negative) 10 Minutes 11. Active Decision Making (Ignore, Innovate, Remove, Best Practice) 10 Minutes 12. Kill Your Babies 13. Final Design, Ritual Assent 60 minutess FROM “THE DESIGN STUDIO METHODOLOGY,” WILL EVANS
  41. 41. “It is hardly possible to overrate the value… of placing human beings in contact with persons dissimilar to themselves, with modes of thought and action unlike those with which they are familiar.” — John Stewart Mill SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  42. 42. Final Thoughts § Start with the context § Concrete Experience, Reflective Observation, Abstraction, Active Experimentation § Start by explicitly stating freedoms, removing tacit constraints § Clearly articulate the problem § Tight cycles, Timeboxed § Adjacencies & Exaptations § Displacement & Coherence § Optionality & Experimentation
  43. 43. THANKS Will Evans will@semanticfoundry.com @SemanticWill http://semanticfoundry.com http://linkedin/in/semanticwill Copyright © 2016-2017 William EvansCopyright © 2016-2017 William Evans

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