Story Telling & Product Partnership (OOP 2013 – Day 1)

OOP 2013This week I’m attending OOP in Munich. As Open Spaces / Un-Conferences have become the norm for me it’s strange to be at “real” conference for a change. I have not been “siezed” (formal way to address in German) that often in a long time. Still, the other participants are amiable enough 🙂

Today was tutorial day. These are the two I attended:

Transport Knowledge and Values with Story Telling

Humans are hard-wired for stories – in the traditional sense, not just user stories. We remember stories much better than lists of facts. So stories suggest themselves to capture knowledge and to relay values to new employees. A story about what collaboration could look like and how it saved the day that one time is a tad more meaningful than a motivational poster with “Collaboration – It’s one of our core values!” on it.

Anne Hoffmann and Andrea Herrmann introduced the arc of suspense and phases a story usually covers:

  1. Set the scene: When? Where? Who?
  2. Introduce the problem
  3. Present the solution

To practise, we took turns in groups of 5, telling 3-sentence-stories – one sentence per person. One such story could be:

  • 1st person: On the ISS a scientist is pouring water on the plants.
  • 2nd person: As there’s no gravity, the water is floating away and the plants stay dry.
  • 3rd person: So the astronaut moves the plant pots to catch the water bubbles.

It was a fun excercise! And the story above can even be interpreted as transporting a value. Which would you guess it is?

Last tip: The stories have greater effect if the audience can identify with the hero/ine. So with a semi-fictional story adapt the main person to match characteristics of your listeners, the better for them to identify 🙂

Thank you, Anne Hoffmann and Andrea Herrmann!

The Product Partnership: Using Structured Conversations to Deliver Value

7 Product Dimensions
7 Product Dimensions

This one was a little different from what I expected. I thought it would be something akin to dialogue sheets, but it was about a conversation along the 7 dimensions of a product. You can use them like a funnel to progressively narrow your focus on what’s adding value. Unfortunately we were a bit short on time. I’d like to have explored the application some more.

Along the way Ellen Gottesdiener grazed a few modeling techniques that sounded interesting to follow-up on:

Thank you, Ellen Gottesdiener!