Storyboarding

Purpose

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.

Time

40 mins

Input

Materials

  • Storyboard template
  • Post-it notes
  • Markers
  • A team or individual
  • Large wall space

Downloads

TheSteps

Prepare:Prepare:

  • 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:

Considerations

Considerations

  • 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.
Signals

Signals

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

Whatsnext?