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We love meeting people, but let's face it: meetings can be hard to get right. They either lack structure or are too structured. People don't feel their voices are heard, and it's hard to reach consensus. And running remote meetings is even harder.
There's a better way. Cards can help you focus the discussion on the project and be confident you won't leave anything out. It's easy, flexible and engaging.
We had the pleasure to have Ola Möller as host for our latest free webinar. Ola is a researcher and designer that founded MethodKit. The 23 kits released so far, address everything from urban planning and public health to app development. Users can be found at Apple, Google, Spotify, Ikea and Volvo.
Using the MethodKit for Workshop Planning, we showed you how you can use cards to design dynamic meetings that hit the sweet spot between structure and creativity.
The principle is simple: most projects have recurring steps. Don't recreate them each time. Instead, use cards to focus the discussion on the project and be confident you won't leave anything out. It's easy, flexible and engaging.
A checklist is usually only made up of words. Some people work better visually. All cards has a visual symbol that represents their topic. Be visual!
Cards makes it easier to co-design your meetings or projects. Often during meetings you can find the participants taking notes on their own. Maybe there is one person that summarize all comments and sending them out in an email afterwards.
Instead of having everyone take their own notes, cards can facilitate the process of everyone creating notes together in a shared space.
On one hand, you have the totally unplanned meeting where the participants just show up without planning anything in advance. Holding a meeting without any planning in advance is similar to starting from a white canvas. In this situation cards can help provide structure and guidelines rather than start from scratch.
On the other hand, you have the rigid meeting where there is a strict agenda that can’t be altered. Cards can be found in the middle of the spectrum. The content of the cards provide a starting point for discussions, but they are flexible to order during the meeting.
In other words, cards can be combined to create customized and flexible canvases or frameworks. While a canvas is useful in situations where the same process is always repeated, cards allows you to alter the structure depending on the situation.
One example of how cards can be used to make participatory design possible in big groups is a workshop that Ola did with a group of students at the University of Gothenburg. During a workshop the students used the MethodKit cards for Workshop Planning to plan a workshop.
First, they prioritized the importance of the topics on the cards by placing the cards on a table. The most important topics were on one side and less important on the other. In a few hours, the students managed to prioritize and define what they wanted to get out of the workshop and plan their effort.
During the webinar we did a live demo in MURAL with the MethodKit cards for workshop planning to show how cards can be used in a remote situation. As an example Ola, Jim and I generated a couple of ideas for a project kick-off meeting.
The mural with the MethodKit cards is available as a template that you can add to your team as a mural. To start working with the template, click on the button in the middle of the template below. To access you will be asked to log in, if you don’t have a user yet you will be asked to register.
You can find instructions for running a session with MethodKit for Workshop Planning in the MURAL Help Center. You can also download MethodKit for Workshop Planning as printable PDF on MethodKits website.
If you look in the Tool menu to the left when you are inside a mural, you will find the MethodKit framework for Workshop Planning in the Frameworks section under the Business tab. The Workshop Planning framework contains a selection of the cards in the kit for rapid planning sessions.
You can find the slides from Ola’s talk here.