The Value of Quieter team members

On Sunday, we met for the second half of our Inspiration phase assignment. It been a weekend, we all couldn’t be there but one was there in spirit and the other on Skype from Wales (yes, she was visiting her partners grandparents and still Skyped in, hardcore hun!)

Having got stuck on how we were to approach the thinking people and experts on Wednesday, I was prepared for a little more of the same. However the difficulty in getting past the location where we could research people and identifying potential analogs was totally different.

Pinpointing activities and emotions was pretty straight forward but identifying behaviours was a little bit more tricky. This was the first time we all fell silent as we struggled to think. It was as though we were unable to think about what the word ‘behaviour’ actually meant much less relate it to eating. As we started to discuss things, it occurred to me that we were trying to complicate things, it is a trap that we’d repeatedly fell into and no doubt we will continue to fall into until we become more confident HCD practitioners.

I decided to just Google behaviours for inspiration. Typically, it was all pretty obvious once you see different words describing behaviour. Next was the one I was dreading the most – analogs. I knew this would really test our imagination, force us to ditch our comfy blankets, ignore the obvious and go all out with blue sky thinking. We were truely stuck, the biggest difficulty was resisting the temptation to compare to something obvious. It was necessary to continually vocally remind ourselves that an analog is finding comparison in unrelated industries but with similar activities, emotions. behaviours and/or processes. But no matter how much we tried, the analogs always seemed to stear towards health. After about the third time of reiteration and using the Lloyds Bank/First Class airport lounge example (post to follow), it suddenly clicked. There was serious pause for thought. You could literally hear the brain cogs churning. Even though I clearly understood what we needed to do even I struggled to find an analog.

Eventually, we came up with four ideas then the stroke of genius came after a long period of silence from one of the team members.  Whilst the rest of us had been yapping and debating the merits of some of the ideas that we had, he was trying to find an analog that had the same activities, emotions and behaviours elsewhere. And that he certainly did, the moment the words left his mouth, we stopped talking. The matching to activities, emotions and behaviours were literally perfect

This is the perfect illustration of quieter team members having invaluable contributions to make to the conversation, You just never know where ingenious ideas or solutions will emerge from. Encouraging quieter team members to speak is essential.

Feeling relieved, we finally moved on to our interview questions but again, we were stuck on the type of questions to ask and how to ask them. There was a danger of us merely asking questions to affirm our assumptions, the typical Survey style questionnaire rather than getting people we were speaking to tell us their stories about how they do things, their constraints, needs, frustrations and dreams. Steering clear of what, why and when as initial questions helped us to rethink and reframe things. By focussing on what we needed to understand, the questions started to flow.

When we finally finished, we breathed a sigh of relief yet were suddenly daunted by the task ahead because now we had to actually go out and do it and within such a tight timeframe. Everyone had day jobs and regular activities. The people we need to speak to have their own time constraints…there simply is no let up.

I really didn’t think this course would be so intense, I mean thought we’d get together and it would be a breeze

One of our team members said as we packed up. Yeah, we all had that popular misconception. But we also agreed that we are all really enjoying the process. Tasks divided, on to the research it is.