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Storyboarding starts with one of the ideas that you have generated and prioritized in earlier work.


It is a method to begin turning the spark of an interesting and promising idea into a fuller solution concept to see if and how it might actually work, step by step. It connects with people and places in the real world. It encourages thinking through sketching.

Time Needed30-60 minutes, often iterative throughout prototyping phase as ideas are developed and tested.

Set Up: Can be done individually or in small groups. Need prioritized idea(s) that people are working with, 11x17 print outs of the storyboard canvas, and drawing supplies.

How It Works

  • Each person chooses an idea that they would like to develop further through storyboarding. If working in small groups, individuals can choose the same idea to work on, or choose to develop different ideas, depending on where the prioritization work is at. Early stage storyboarding can help with making sense of ideas, stimulating dialogue among team members about the solution space, and with prioritizing of promising concepts. Later stage storyboarding can support progress into a prototyping plan.

  • It is helpful to show a short video on the basics of drawing, like this one, to help people to visualize their ideas.

  • Once the ideas are chosen, people work silently and individually on their storyboards, working on answering the question of “how might this idea actually work?” Encourage then to focus on touch points - or the points where the solution concept interacts with users or the environment in real time and space. Thinking about it as visually telling the story of how this solution works in a step-by-step way is also a helpful reminder. It often takes at least 20-30 minutes for people to really sink into this task.

  • If working in groups, you can then ask people to share their storyboards for discussion. The discussion can take different directions depending on where you are in your process. What are we learning about our potential solutions space? Where is their alignment and/or difference in our teams’ interpretations? What is looking promising to explore further? What isn’t working? What don’t we know?

  • Eventually storyboarding should get you to testable prototype concept, but it can be an iterative path to get there.


Adapted From

  • Thinkpublic

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