Sunday, July 5, 2009

Meetings can be fun and productive

As part of the degree program at UArts, I have been involved in the organizational design of a local company in Philadelphia. The objective of the project is to use design methods of research, ideation, prototype and testing to make company processes more effective and transparent.

The project started with a group of designers, including myself, conducting interviews with company employees. The aim of this was to find out about their likes, dislikes, opinions and suggestions about how to help make their daily work flow more effective and enjoyable.

After conducting 20+ interviews, a common theme of frustration due to ineffective team communication presented itself
. In particular, employees highlighted that meetings were often indecisive because; strong characters dominated weaker ones, important but sensitive issues were ignored, people were non-participatory, and meetings always ran longer than they should.

Using these findings, we designed
a series of "Role Playing Cards" to act as communication tools to facilitate more effective meetings. These cards provide characters that help encourage users to participate in promoting more productive meetings. Each character comes with immunity so the user plays their assigned role without fear of consequence. Preliminary tests have already indicated the success of these cards and users have told us that just as much as they are helpful, they are also fun!

It is important to remember however that the cards do not guarantee meeting success. They are an educational tool that we hope will eventually become re
dundant, as users develop skills without prompts from the cards.

If you would like to know more please leave a comment,