Thoughts behind MethodKit
Below we explain why we decided to do things we the way we do.
In the age of digital, we feel analogue tools have been forgotten. We noticed that digital gadgets often became a barrier to real collaboration and we wanted to create a smart analogue tool that reminds you about the most important bits and pieces involved in different areas.
The digital world has plenty of advantages, but we might have forgotten the benefits of analogue space. Physical workspace has rarely developed. The blank canvases are the rule. (Examples are post-its, whiteboards, flip charts, chalkboards, notebooks.) That means that workshops and meetings start from zero, every time.
Why were there no analogue tools designed for today’s work situation? In a world where trendy newspapers, investors and blogs focus at apps and startups, it seemed like useful physical tools had become massively untrendy. Had we forgotten that useful things not always can be packaged as an app?
Analogue things are more real and allow less distractions than digital devices. That enables you to focus on what is important, to develop something cool.
We think of the cards as playful tools. The design and purpose of the kits are in many ways backed by the latest academic research on learning and education.
10 Design Principles
1. A visual tool
We use easy to grasp graphics to quickly communicate which type of aspect you are holding in your hand or seeing. That allows you to easily navigate the landscape and get an overview.
The first seven MethodKits consist of 50-something cards that summarize different fields.
2. As little information as possible on the cards
Our initial product testings showed that collaboration and discussion were left out if there was too much information on the cards, as people got stuck reading. The benefit of cards is to provide a quick overview, not to summarize a 500 page project management manual. There are books, lectures and Google to explore each topic.
Cards are typically an entry point to more complex and detailed information.
– Google Design Guidelines on Cards
Cards are ideal for representing concepts and conveying crucial information – not to replace books.
3. Description without direction
We want to explain what a measurable goal is but without telling you how you should or should not do. Everyone has their practice and we created a tool that does not have an opinion about your way of working. It is important to consider roles and responsibilities in a project but it is not our thing to decide how you do that.
We provide the bits and pieces but it is your choice in which direction to roll them.
4. Straightforward language
Jargon, academic language and buzzword can make communication less straightforward. We try to simplify the language that is often being used talking around an issue. The idea is to get rid of the crap, not the complexity. To decode the language being used. Straightforward language allows the overview to be accessible for a everyone, from beginners to experts.
The more universal the better.
5. The sweet spot between structure and creativity
A framework gives you the possibility to focus on creating projects and have meaningful discussions on where you are and where to head. Something that allows you to be creative but still provide support. Neither too much structure, nor too little.
1. Creative without structure (creative chaos)
2. Creativity with structure (semi structure)
3. Structure without creativity (rigid structure)
6. Discussions are more important than the cards
Cards are catalysts and aids to provide structure and overview. They can support discussions by representing different parts or perspectives. As the cards only provide the crucial information, the project and idea you are working on are in focus.
The cards are pillars to aid and spark good conversations. A bit the same way as scaffolding works when a building is being constructed.
7. Create tools out of the reoccurring things
Many factors and patterns remain the same from one project to another. Our concept has been to identify and make tools out of the things that stay constant over time, to let you focus on discussions, creativity, ideas and strategy – the things that really matters.
Some patterns reoccur again and again in different types of projects. Some are non-occuring context specific. We focus on the former. Examples of these are: setting goals, deciding on a team and roles, creating a vision, budget and timeframe.
8. Tool that makes you ask important questions
We try to find interesting topics to make into MethodKits. How to quickly define a project? Which are current trends? Which sensors are available to create useful new products? Which are the human needs? Which criteria to use when defining an idea or evaluate a project? How to work with sustainable development and gender equality? How can normal citizens become included in building our cities?
9. Covering the Essentials
The kits let you focus on the things that you feel is important. Your projects and ideas. Project management is a necessary evil. Clients that have extremely little time but want a say in everything. The kits summarizes different fields and make overview easier.
Scanning the surroundings to get overview.
10. The cards will not do the work for you
Mastery over a field is about experience, knowledge, leadership and project management. The cards provide an overview and a framework to help you proceed with a project. They help you to prioritize tasks and design workshop with the project group. It’s meant to give you a leverage in the projects you take on.
Ideas are created two times. First through coming up with the idea but you need to put it into action for it to become real.