To quickly flesh out new ideas to uncover gaps and identify opportunities. It can be used in a current or future state scenario.
Current State (‘Explore’): To help understand the current situation or experience, and uncover any gaps or challenges in delivering your idea.
Future State (‘Make’): To clearly visualise your concept from start to finish in a way that anyone can understand. This can help to refine your idea, reveal where and how it will be used, and by whom.
When To Run This
Current State: At the beginning of a project, as a warm up or as an empathy building tool.
Future State: When you want to communicate how the idea might work by visualising it in a use case scenario.
- Research and insights
- Journey Map (optional)
- Storyboard template
- Post-it notes
- A team or individual
- Large wall space
Choose your team. Storyboarding is ideally done as a team, but can also be just you.
Make copies of the template for your team to fill out.
Decide what to storyboard. It doesn’t need to be the whole journey; it can be an idea, interaction, touchpoint, etc. If you have a Journey Map, you can refer to it to flesh out your story.
- What’s the timeline?
- What are the key scenes in your story?
Action It:Action It:
Warm up your team (optional). If you’re doing Storyboarding as a standalone or as the first activity of a workshop, start by running an activity like Squiggle Birds to show that you don’t need drawing skills to get an idea across.
Share an example storyboard to help the team understand how to create one. This example below shows a storyboard of “how to make toast.”
(In the ‘Explore’ state) Map the Current State experience as individuals. Each person should draw their version on a separate Storyboard template. If it’s complicated, you can use post-it notes, so that you can move parts around as you build the story and highlight key moments, and transfer the story onto your template when you’re happy with it.
Discuss everyone’s Current State experience, so that the team has a shared understanding.
(In the ‘Make’ state) Explore the Future State experience. Think about what an ideal experience might look like if it had no boundaries, and draw it onto a new Storyboard template.
Name your Future State idea. Come up with a catchy title to make it memorable and easier to discuss when comparing a few experiences.
Share the Future State experience with the team, and ask for questions and feedback.
Rearrange and combine storyboards. Discuss each team member’s view of the idea and decide as a team which parts make the most comprehensive story. Combine the parts into one main storyboard that shows the best example, adding extra frames if necessary. The story should have a clear outcome – if it’s an unfavourable situation, end with the full weight of the problem; if it’s a solution, end with the benefits.
Next Steps:Next Steps:
Prepare for Rapid Prototyping using the storyboard as a guide.
- Your storyboards should make sense even if you aren’t there to explain it.
- Don’t focus too much on drawing abilities — this is about thinking through your concept rather than creating a visually appealing storyboard.
- Create empathy by adding visual cues to define the characters. For example, show the characters’ with emotions by drawing eyebrows and mouths on them, or to convey tone, give them a hairstyle, a tie or glasses.
- When drawing your ideal state, think outside the box. Don’t limit your team to what’s viable at this stage.
- A good story should include a:
- Character - the persona featured in your story. Consider their behaviour, expectations, feelings, and decisions they’d make in their journey.
- Scene - it should be a real-world context that includes a place and people.
- Plot - it should start with a specific event (trigger) and conclude with either a benefit of a solution (if proposing one) or the problem that the character has (if highlighting one).
- Narrative - it should focus on a goal that the character is trying to achieve. The story needs to have a beginning, middle and an end.
It's Going Well When:
- Everyone is contributing
- Gaps are being discovered and discussed
- Key steps in the innovation are being identified and explored.
Watch Out For:
- People feeling uncomfortable about drawing - this is important so make it fun - have examples or activities to show you don’t need drawing skills.
- Too much or not enough detail