Bridging the gap between result documentation and meta information after innovation sessions

Sarah Goff-Dupont and jens Bothmer at Atlassian Summit

At #AtlassianSummit I had a thrilling talk with Sarah Goff-Dupont from Atlassian’s Playbook. As Sarah explained the idea of Atlassian Playbook we found out a lot of similarities with Design Thinking methods. For me as a facilitator for Innovation Methods there is always the challenge of how to cope with the documentation after some intense and fertile days of a Design Thinking session.

The challenge is to put together all important meta information which are on sticky note, in an illustration, a drawing or even an origami bird which someone folded during a session and which became the thriving idea for the new approach. It is all the more tricky as in the origami example, a photo protocol or transcribing the information to some office software files would never have the same impact. Putting all Information in an office software is good but meta information which make the participants remember the session and possibly think further would get lost. Besides transcribing the results is also a tremendous and ambitious effort. After several days of innovation sessions you easily get 30 to 50 canvases. Best would be to leave the canvases in the session room until the end of the project, which would not be affordable by most companies.

The Atlassian Team Playbook blueprints offers an easy solution in regards to collaboration and documentation issues. But still the meta information gets lost and it is a challenge to get them back after transcription, even though the tool provides a comprehensive functionality of integrating images and other media files.

After the inspiring conversation with Sarah I headed to the Atlassian Trello booth where I discussed my thoughts with the relevant person on the booth. Integrating images and video even on top of the Trello cards could be a good alternative instead of transcribing the whole data into a (collaborative) document. In Trello the columns or rows (name it) could be used to represent the blocks of the canvas. Not ideal is that the visual ease of use from the canvas and the context of the canvas would be lost und Trello would mutate to a common checklist only with media integration. I personally think the easy Kanban-Use-Case is the magic Trello provides.

Another thought is to have a closer look at Alexander Osterwalder’s Strategyzer App for the Business Modell Canvas which is also supported by famous author Steve Blank. In this app the sticky notes are simulated via Drag & Drop mode while media integration is still a challenge. But iteration of your business model canvases would be easy by just copying a given layout. In this context the disadvantage of the solution is that new styles of canvases are not likely to be created by the user.

Thus corporates need to have a closer look at the software of french based Strategexx which provides an app where you can setup your own canvases on demand, integrate media and have a similar usability experience using the sticky notes functionality. Together with integrating business data, a good functionality is the export feature to rearrange your data with common office tools to later re-import und display them visually again.

At the Atlassian Summit the app Wallsync got my attention. Using augmented reality Wallsync provides the possibility of taking photos of sticky notes. Hereafter the software translates the handwriting into text and automatically generates an issue in Atlassians Jira. This is a scummaster’s dream. Adding a QR-code relates the sticky note to the responsible person, role or the related epic. Awesome.

Comala’s Canvas for Confluence is able to generate any canvas unless it is rectangle. This is a very nice solution when the creative work is done and you are on iterations of the canvases. But still there ist the challenge of integrating meta information. By copying the pages it is easy to generate new instances and varieties of your ideas or business models or to collaborate on the ideas even if you are working with a remote team.

Another innovative product from Comala is Agile Ranking for Jira which is known in Design Thinking as High-Low-Diagram. When I talked to Roberto Dominguez (President of Comala) we figured out that we both know Dr. Boris Kneisel from SAP who worked together with Comala to realize this great Add-on. I am looking forward to meet Roberto again at Tools4AgileTeams in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Last but not least, I like to mention Mural which exposed at the Atlassian Summit too and probably got the highest maturity in dealing with visual and digital canvases. Mural emphasizes on remote and digital work. But one of the very advantages is that you can use Mural ready made for your sessions and after the sessions. All results are straight away digital. On the Summit in San Jose I talked to Marian Battan, Murals’s CEO who mentioned famous author Jim Kalbach (He is a noted author, speaker, and instructor in Experience Mapping. Jim was Speaker at our Frankfurt’s dtcamp.) He works together on the canvases with Mural. Marian and I made something up which will happen in Frankfurt soon. Look out for a whole new experience in running innovation workshops.

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