This is how it works First, you will decide on a design question around Finding Europe. Then you invent and prototype an innovation to turn your vision into a reality. At the same time you’ll come up with a story of how your idea comes into the world. Playing cards guide you to write a narrative with obstacles and drama, a climax, and sword fights if you want. The aim is to finish with a concept that can be developed by some or all of you. To win this game, everyone is required to co-operate, not compete.
So, more detailed, the session always starts with a story that places everyone in a sci-fi world and gives you roles. Three groups are formed: the “Designers” find a strategy to solve the design question; the “Storytellers” implement the designers’ concept into a story that describes how the solution can work given the current context and opposing forces (e.g. antagonist or obstacles); the third group represents “The Future”. They challenge and inform the other groups by providing futurist technologies and needs of certain stakeholders. The groups cannot freely communicate with other groups, so the challenge is to synthesize design and story as best as possible. At the end, a card prompts one of you to record the outcome as a three-minute video pitch involving a storyboard that you created throughout the game.
A bit of theory The narrative design of the workshop is modelled after Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. Both the story’s protagonist and each participant are heroes and heroines. Their paths become entwined as they tell their story while working out a solution to their shared problem. At the same time the participants are guided through a typical design process. This involves user-centric methods, such as formulating a problem statement, investigating stakeholders and context, brainstorming and rapidly prototyping ideas. Following a narrative, the workshop game resembles a typical design process, which works because story and design draw on the same principles to create meaning. A story follows four steps: challenge, conquer, change and prevail. A design process follows four similar steps: analyze, ideate, develop, test. Bringing these two together like we do in our game is quite unique and we haven’t yet heard from anyone, who has seen this done elsewhere.