It is no surprise that visual aids help convey ideas more concisely and accurately. For anyone who is looking to maximize his/her solution ideating and prototyping session, can be an excellent tool and icebreaker during any Design Thinking workshop that can create intensive but creative ideation. It became clear to the employers at Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), who wanted to add an element of fun while enhancing the overall communication for their intensive 3-day workshop.
TEPCO, one of Japan’s oldest and most important electric companies which services the country’s Kanto region which includes Tokyo, came together to respond to the rapidly evolving working environment and resolve the market’s changing demands for the digital transformation. As the country heads to easing the current utility industry regulations this year, the participants of the workshop (7 from TEPCO and 6 from SAP) had to find solutions. The objectives were to not only help envision the fully transformed digitalization of the organization, but also position from being currently perceived as conservative
The SAP Design team had the pleasure to interview Takashi Kitajima, General Manager and Takehiko Ikenouchi, Technology Strategy Manager at TEPCO’s Engineering Management Office, and asked them about their experience using “Scenes” to achieve their goals.
SAP Design: Tell us briefly about your first impression when seeing the “Scenes” for the first time.
TEPCO: The package seemed like well-made sets of illustrations. It was impressive and comprehensive and seemed it could encourage us to be creative and productive.
SAP Design: How did you introduce “Scenes” as a tool to your colleagues? Were any of them skeptical with the idea?
TEPCO: We have introduced it as a new tool that can help us deliver messages more thoroughly. We are a considerably conservative group in general and are not familiar with tools like “Scenes,” but the most difficult part has been the introduction. Once the colleagues began flipping through the pages, they knew how to incorporate it in their prototyping phase.
Using “Scenes” requires two important but interesting features. One is that it can help visualize ideas much better than any other methods. The other is that it requires the users to be much more active during the workshop, from searching for the right illustration to positioning them on the storyboards. As mentioned earlier, some participants of the workshops tend to be more cautious about providing opinions in open situations like this. This became a great opener to anyone who needed a bit of encouragement. This is also how “Scenes” can differentiate itself from other methods, like simply drawing. It encourages without being too invasive in our own process.
SAP Design: What are some of strengths and weaknesses of “Scenes”?
TEPCO: It has been a great experience overall. It not only made the workshop fun, but also comfortable for participants, which is the most important strength of “Scenes.” It keeps everybody relaxed and open for new ideas and frees people from the pressure to draw all ideas themselves. And its most important feature, its material, which can be its strength but weakness as well. Because it is made out of paper, it can turn into a cheap and fast prototype, but also difficult to be documented and digitized. One wish I would have is for the backgrounds to stand alone, as it’s bigger than other parts and needs extra support to stay standing.
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