Scenes – A Tool Developed to Tell Stories and Create Empathy
In 2015, SAP’s Design & Co-Innovation Center released a new storytelling toolkit called Scenes. It empowers professionals from any background to create fun illustrative storyboards that can showcase the value and requirements of products and services from a human point of view. Users of Scenes can create visual stories fast, collaboratively and, most importantly, without the need of drawing skills.
How Scenes Enters the Academic World
Peter Hottum, General Manager at KSRI, first had the idea to make use of this innovative toolkit in the academic ecosystem at his institute. He learned about Scenes in a hands-on workshop at UX Day Mannheim, where the designers who had created Scenes at SAP’s Design & Co-Innovation Center presented the toolkit for the first time.
“Since projects at KSRI are always located at the interface between research and business practice, the human being is at the center of our stories. To visualize the human aspects, Scenes helps a lot”, explains Peter Hottum.
Young academics at KSRI do intensive research in the field of Service Science to graduate or gain a PhD. This involves several domains of Digital Service Systems, like Discrete Optimization & Logistics, Digital Service Innovation, Information Systems & Service Design, Knowledge Management & Web Science, Information & Market Engineering, Energy Economics as well as Value Stream Services. To build a bridge between the broad range of topics covered, Scenes has become a well-functioning instrument to illustrate an individual research focus or even first interim results, supplementing previous forms of communication based mostly on PowerPoint® presentations or scientific posters.
“Talking about our ideas and results is part of our daily business – in lectures, talks or articles. The tools that we have used so far are often too inflexible and not very appealing. We have noticed that we need to communicate our content differently to be able to deliver good substance in an interesting way. Scenes makes research content much more accessible to all involved parties”, says Peter.
Scenes Becomes Part of the Daily Institute Life
“At the beginning, the reservations were quite definite, since the characters with the sweet faces have a cartoonish touch. For many, the added value was not recognizable at first sight, since the presentation of scientific results has to be serious”, explains Peter Hottum. To overcome this skepticism, Peter decided to use the toolkit in the institute more holistically and made Scenes visible throughout the whole building. The characters welcome visitors of the institute and also found their use as door signs.
After a short while, Scenes became more pervasive in the institute. Now, in order to escape the obsolete forms of presentation, the young academics at KSRI are taking advantage of Scenes and are changing their way of work. With the help of different illustrated pieces, they recount research ideas in short videos of no more than six scenes, following a defined plot structure for the storyline. These vision stories put the humans in the center together with their identified challenge. The different segments of these vision stories explain what a potential solution for the identified problem could look like.
How Scenes Can Help Simplifying Complex Academic Contents
Melanie Reuter-Oppermann is Senior Researcher and Coordinator of the Health Care Lab at KSRI. She conducts research in the field of the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Systems. In Germany, the EMS System serves time-critical emergency rescues, as well as time-uncritical patient transports. Dispatchers need to handle all kind of calls, which make it impossible to consider all constraints and objectives. The idea is to develop an EMS assistant that makes suggestions for the dispatching of ambulances. Explanations help the dispatcher understand the suggestions, and so increase their trust in the system. Watch the whole video HERE.
Further research videos created with Scenes can be found on the KSRI channel.
I found Scenes immediately appealing to the design. In my opinion, it was never so simple to present research projects and ideas, so as to address the broad masses. By using Scenes, the project is automatically more attractive for potential partners. At the same time, the videos are also a good advertisement for the topics at KSRI.– Melanie Reuter-Oppermann, Senior Researcher and Coordinator of Health Care Lab, KSRI
Expanding Storytelling at KSRI
Meanwhile, there are additional plans to incorporate Scenes into the academic environment at KSRI. On the one hand, the institute will further develop its creation of compelling stories in order to narrate broader challenges. The focus here is to explore how more complex and broader challenges, such as system perspectives with multiple actors, can be illustrated with the help of Scenes.
In addition, Scenes will also be entering the lecture halls. „We plan to integrate Scenes into some of our lectures. In addition to theoretical and practical examples, complex problems can be illustrated in an interesting and easily understandable manner”, says Melanie Reuter-Oppermann.
Also for SAP, this collaboration is worth it. Together with the service domain experts of KSRI, the designers of Scenes are discussing potential extensions of the current tool, for much easier application in further domains, such as healthcare, logistics or IoT.