A question for you : are you clear on how what you're working on will change in the coming 5 years?
Often we work with teams that know exactly what is being asked of them today - the corporate or business goals are clear for this year or quarter (if you're lucky), and the immediate task isn't unclear, what's less clear is the overall direction of travel. Why are we going where we're going?
This results in unanswered questions like "How does what we're working on today make meaningful sense for where we would like to be in 3-5 years time?" "How are we going to unlock innovation that makes a difference to our users over that timespan?"
It's for questions like these that an experience vision can be so powerful.
An experience vision is a way to story-tell the future of how your product or service will evolve, and how your user's lives will be affected as a result.
Experience vision becomes powerful when it becomes tangible.
That can take many forms, from the architect's cardboard model to the interaction designer's motion concepts. It can be user interface, it can be sketches and maps, it can be anything that visualises your path forward. Ideally it's something that is easily shareable and that can be understood by anyone at a glance.
It's definitely not a powerpoint.
Some of our favourite experience visions aren't what you might typically expect - they take an expansive, challenging, thought-provoking and inspirational take on what's possible
Lucy McCrae (the creator of the title image of this article) creates intimate, sometimes terrifying, experience visions of the human body in the future. She challenges us think about "fleshy futures" as we adapt to space travel, to factory farming, to manipulating our scents.
At the opposite end of the fleshy future imagined by Lucy McCrae are parkour pals - robot friends that want nothing more than to join us in playground gymnastics. These are experience visions from Boston Dynamics of our futures lived in concert with humanoid robots, a future that Boston are inviting us to think of as playful, charming and relatable - maybe they're right?
The Fabricant helps us to imagine a future in which our expressions of identity, belonging and status exist solely in the online realm. They raise questions like how will we choose to express ourselves, to see and be seen? These are questions an experience vision helps us to think through.
Of course, you might not be working on sending people to space or building robot dogs, but an experience vision can still be transformative for your project or program.
The key steps are:
- Imagine a future scenario that your service or product will need to work in.
- Consider the ways in which your service or product will change people's lives in this new context
- Design expressions of the service that fulfil needs or solve problems in this new context.
Even just the exercise of thinking through these futures can unlock innovative and creative thinking, and help you and your team spot new opportunities and fresh ways of thinking about what you're doing.
If you want to discuss how an experience vision might help you and your team unlock innovation just drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org