Over the past few weeks my posts have explored various tools to use in product concept investigation. This week we will continue by reviewing two additional problem scenario approaches. Each of these has its own strengths and weaknesses. Used in the right situation, both can help clarify how the product concept will work and get the team nearer its goals.
Before we drill down into Storyboarding and Flow Diagrams, let’s take a moment to think about the purpose of the problem scenario.
Purpose of the Problem Scenario in Product Concept Investigation
All problem scenarios must illustrate challenges faced by users while attempting to reach a specific goal. This includes exposing the limitations of current solutions in the marketplace.
An effective problem scenario promotes:
- Clear understanding of the situation a user faces in trying to reach a goal
- An accurate definition of the goal the user is seeking to achieve
- A strong understanding of how consumers are currently reaching this goal
- The frustrations felt by customers using current solutions
- A revelation of the opportunity you have to flush out new ideas to reduce or eliminate frustrations with current solutions
- A wide open path for the presentation of bold, fresh ideas that could dramatically improve the customer’s experience
Storyboarding as a Method of Product Concept Investigation
One of the great strengths of Storyboarding is its ability to make an idea instantly understandable to your team. In contrast, the simple story method of product concept investigation requires the audience to read through the whole written description. Only when the reading is complete will the team understand where you are going and what you are suggesting.
Storyboarding combines illustrations (ala comic books or cartoons) with individual written steps to deliver your concept. Your audience can quickly grasp where you are taking them with the storyboarding methodology. The one danger is that you can over simplify your ideas and therefore leave out critical details that would be clear in a fully written out concept (simple story).
Now, let’s consider another approach to the Problem Scenario, Flow Diagramming.
If collaboration between individuals or departments is vital, the Flow Diagram is an excellent tool for sharing your ideas.
The Flow Diagram essentially shows how a solution would flow through your company’s various departments on its way to completion. Each handoff point and step will be clearly shown on the diagram so everyone can see exactly where their department fits into the overall sequence.
Next week we’ll move away from the Problem Scenario approach to product concept investigation. We will take a close look at the Competitive Analysis Matrix and its uses, advantages, and disadvantages in the product development process.