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Rapid Journey Prototyping

As a product manager who also pitches in as a service designer at Noora Health, i sometimes do wonder how I could use most of the design methods I’m applying at my day job for myself.

Let’s take the methodology of Service Design Blueprinting for example. It involves outlining the front stage and back stage elements of all the actors involved in a system to make it lead to the intended action. For example, if you’re heading to a shop to buy medicines, the act of buying medicines is the front stage process. And the act of stocking the inventory with the required medicines from time to time is the backstage process.

This works GREAT for larger organisational processes but fails badly while outlining for our personal life. There is a laborious amount of work involved in putting all the pieces together and there might be some requirements of having something quick and easy.

Do we have a more less-technical, no-frills version of the Service Design Blueprint for our daily life?

Enter rapid journey prototyping. (I didn’t know how else to describe this process)

Let me take you through the process of this design method.

Step 1: What would the service design blueprint look like, if you were to outline everything verbally. No fancy sticky notes. No elaborate worksheets to fill up before attempting. Just your mind and your words.

Let me take you through a personal example: my marriage. They are much awaited event, not only for the bride and groom but also the family and friends. Each wedding has multiple events, which last for many days. We personally have planned to do a more cut down version, which was quite elaborately planned. Besides that, since it involved various ‘stakeholders’, and as everything had to be planned to a T, we had to do proper groundwork for things to come.

This is when I started emulating the journeys of all actors.

One by one.

Simulating various journeys

Taking a lead out of the walking in the user’s shoes example, you start simulating journeys of each and every actor involved in the event (marriage).

  • What does the journey of the bride look like?
  • What does the journey of the groom look like?

In this way, you start simulating the journeys of each and every actor in your head to see if the logistics and any backend processes need to be sorted.

Prioritising actors in sequence

In a marriage, there are obviously various actors involved so it would be wiser to first arrange the actors in the decreasing order of importance to achieve the goal: of marriage.

So, obviously the journeys of the bride and the groom are first covered in detail. This could be particularly zoomed in, or zoomed out based on the priority of the task (let’s say receiving the marriage certificate).

And then the other actors are outlined in sequence and their journeys are detailed out.

  • Bride’s father/mother
  • Groom’s father/mother
  • Relatives etc
  • Bride’s friends
  • Bridegroom’s friends

For more complicated systems, each and every system can outline actors of decreasing importance.

For instance, the marriage event itself has multiple sub-events. For a typical Hindu wedding, you have the muhurtham (ceremony), gathering, photography, wedding lunch, post-wedding photoshoot etc.

The simulation of journeys for various actors can be done for each and every such event if we have the time for it.

The whole benefit of this exercise is to unravel gaps in our project management/planning/logistics.

From ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’, we slowly reach a steady state where ‘we know what we don’t know’.

After that it’s just a matter of outlining the tasks to be completed and getting straight to execution!

This is technically what the Service blueprint does in a more structured fashion.

The essence is still the same.