Design thinking

Recipes for Great Design part 2

Diana Africano Clark

Co-creation Interviews

At Veryday we’re involved in every step of the design process, from brief to implementation, which gives us an intimate understanding of where each innovative idea originates. Just as great chefs build relationships with farmers to understand what’s behind the ingredients they include in a dish, we describe how our concepts emerge from insights we gained during research. And just as the most inspiring meals are the result of great teamwork in the kitchen, we care about the whole process, fostering close collaboration with our clients and their customers to create compelling experiences that people find valuable

Our Design Process

Driven by principles of empathy, thoroughness and flexibility, there are five main activities in our design process. Throughout, we: 1) investigate contexts, 2) identify opportunities, 3) prototype concepts, 4) evaluate directions and 5) launch initiatives. In practice, of course, it’s not always so clear-cut. Each project unfolds in its own way and the five activities often blend together, but understanding them helps orient our design process. In the next few editions of Recipes for Great Design, we’ll focus on the first activity: methods that investigate contexts.

From our earliest days as a company we recognized that building great products and services starts with gaining insight into the context of the places where people live, work and play.

How We Investigate Contexts

When we investigate contexts we delve into a full range of aspects that shape user experience: emotions, values, tensions and well-being. We gain a better understanding of context by developing and implementing a research program that’s appropriate for each project’s unique people and places. Context research provides insight into the current and preferred interactions people have with a client’s brand. It draws on a range of anthropology, psychology and design research methods adapted to each project’s particular demands. One of these most trusted yet constantly evolving methods is the Co-creation Interview.

Method 1: The Co-creation Interview

Words never tell the whole story. Our visual and tangible approach to interviewing enables us to dive deeper into people’s lives.

During interviews, we visualize what people say so they have the opportunity to respond, revise and build on their own stories. By creating transcripts and illustrations on a tabletop, we invite interviewees to question and clarify our interpretation of what they’ve stated. Seeing a visual representation of their own experience prompts them to point, emphasize, and make connections and associations to additional experiences that may be relevant to the project.

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Goals and Benefits of the Co-creation Interview

  • Provide a visual overview of an interviewee’s story
  • Make group session presentations more memorable
  • Easily add notes and expand on material directly on top of a map, both during and after an interview

Typical Co-creation Interview Deliverables

  • Sketch of the interview
  • Presentation, with quotes and summary of key insights

Core Co-creation Interview Activities

  • Send out pre-task
  • Prepare interview guide (may include a journey template)
  • Gather microphones and cameras for recording the session
  • Work as a team during the interview: one asks questions and takes notes, the other illustrates what people say
  • Create an illustration. May include simple sketches, symbolic props, color-coding, etc.
  • While illustrating, label parts of the story with key quotes and titles
  • Walk through the illustration with the participant and ask follow-up questions based on the project’s particular focus

In an effort to gain insight into the contexts of people’s everyday lives, we’ve found value in the co-creation interview approach. As with any method, however, we carefully adapt it to the specific situations we encounter. For example, some people may feel more comfortable talking than “making.” Over the years we’ve learned to pay attention to how people respond during an interview so we can interact in a way that works for all of us – and generates the most insight into the context we’re investigating.