Once Upon A Time

Having been pitched many ideas by many different people, it becomes apparent very quickly that many creators of the great ideas have a problem explaining and illustrating what it is they are looking to do.

How should you explain and illustrate an idea? One guy used a back-of-an-envelope illustration to show what his idea was about. I knew it was the back of an envelope (literally) because you could see the edge of the seal flap where it had been stuck down on the back, written on, scanned and emailed to me. I guess this may not be the most ideal way of presenting anything in business but, it got it's point over and, maybe for the wrong reasons, I still remember it to this day.

But with all the different ways of being able to present information these days there is one channel of communication which stands out a mile. A story…

All those who come to us seeking our expertise and assistance talk us through their ideas. But unless we have some domain expertise it can at times be difficult to understand what it is they're looking to achieve. Recently, a conversation I had with someone went something along the lines of "...and then we do this, and then we do that, and then we do this, and then that is sent to there"… Frankly within about 45 seconds I was confused. These sort of conversations are often followed by various documents, diagrams, PDFs, etc tumbling into the inbox and to be fair these often really help explain the idea far clearer than the original discussion.

However, only a few days ago, another idea was presented to me but this time, very quickly after our initial phone conversation, a somewhat different email arrived. As I have some domain specific knowledge the conversation clearly explained what it was he was looking to achieve with the project, but the email absolutely nailed every aspect of what he wanted to offer the users. The email was a story. In the story the four main characters played out a number of scenarios which beautifully and precisely explained every aspect of the product. Having got to the end of the story we had a clear vision of how this product would work, who would use the product and, to a certain extent, how the product would present on a device in terms of graphics, UX and UI.

So, if you ever get stuck explaining and illustrating your idea, pitch it as a story. You never know, you may live happily ever after…

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