Don’t drop the pilot!

Sometimes an idea that’s been built, tried and tested in pilot mode still fails in the real world. To avoid that happening, build your idea around an ‘actor map’ during the Prototyping phase of NoTosh Design Thinking and create a systematic view of the context in which your idea will actually operate.

Actor mapping is best employed after a period of intense research has identified the problem or challenge to be tackled and an idea has emerged out of a wealth of possible solutions. It’s a really useful way to identify potential human challenges that may arise as the idea is implemented with different groups in your school, workplace or community.

How does it work?

  • Choose an idea that’s been researched with a few prototypes already created, but hasn’t been publicised yet
  • Place your idea at the centre of the map, using A1 paper or a flipchart
  • From the centre of the map, draw half a dozen concentreic circles and divide into six slices (think cake!) labeled WHO, WHAT, HOW, WHERE, WHEN, WHY
  • First of all identify the WHO – from the people who will benefit most to the people who will benefit least
  • For each WHO work out:

    • WHAT they or you need to do for the idea to be implemented
    • HOW this could or would happen
    • WHEN it would happen and finally
    • WHERE it would happen

Remember!

  • Consider the point of view of each WHO – it’s a great exercise in promoting empathetic thinking, encouraging participants to put themselves in other people’s shoes
  • The process should reveal obstacles that would otherwise have gone unnoticed, allowing you to adapt and change ideas for the better
  • Hexagonal thinking is a good way to show how ideas connect
  • Don’t be afraid to highlight disconnections – people, groups, actions – what can you do to bring them closer to the idea?
  • Keep a note of each action suggested by the participants and use this to inform the next prototype
Notosh web lab actormappingexample 1 Notosh web lab actormappingexample 2 Notosh web lab actormappingexample 3

Author

Ewan McIntosh

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