As a human-centric design agency, Mad has found great strength in adopting modern business wisdom to help us stay both current, and future-proof. Sometimes, it can be as simple as stepping back from a task or project to re-analyze the situation and problems, and to find intelligent solutions.
Simply put: Step back. Collaborate, Analyse. Optimize. Enjoy success (or at least a higher chance of it).
One such Design Thinking tool we utilize regularly is our MÄDS100+ concept. This handy acronym refers to a methodological approach for smarter team work. Let’s dive in to what it stands for:
Ä: All ideas are welcome
D: Design from Leaders
S: Safe Space
100+ : Quantity produces quality.
These handy buzzwords are not purely fueling self-indulgent brand awareness efforts, but rather they each play a key part in how we recommend (and practice) approaching certain tasks and problems.
To illustrate the meaning of the concept, we’ll use the atypical example of a Design Sprint. During these workshops we often will have a team (clients and agency team members) ideating on various aspects of a brand. Imagine our client wants to create a company that offers professional showreels and CVs to amateur football players wanting to get noticed: we may be discussing what a good brand name could be. For this, every team member in the room will work together, alone - by taking a collective 5 minutes to individually write down as many ideas as possible on post-it notes (one idea per post-it).
At the end of the five minutes, each team member takes a turn to present their ideas with some explanation, and all ideas are stuck to the wall for the team to then vote on. This process of writing on post it notes, presenting, and then voting, can be referred to as ‘note-and-vote’.
Here’s where MÄDS100+ comes in.
Thinking outside the box is encouraged, sometimes to create amazing ideas you need to explore the outright whacky!
Ä: All ideas are welcome.
Going in to the task with an open-mind is ideal, ensure everyone-no matter their profession, seniority, experience-knows that they can suggest any idea (even if it’s unconventional or misaligned with what others are thinking).
D: Design from Leaders.
There’s no need to always reinvent the wheel. Sometimes piggybacking from the success from others makes the most sense, i.e. learn from the best and get inspired to improve upon it or take proven (and tested) elements into your consideration.
S: Safe Space.
If crazy ideas are encouraged, all ideas are welcomed, and copying from the best is deemed acceptable, then we need to reaffirm that there’s no judgement on any ideas. To help team members feel comfortable with the task, and therefore produce more (and potentially better) ideas, ensure that everyone knows they’re in a safe space to suggest whatever comes to mind.
100+ : Quantity produces quality.
Common ideas are often shared, and it’s not as difficult as you think to come up with 100 basic ideas on any given topic. Once we get past the first 100 ideas, we start getting into really unconventional territory - which can be where so many brilliant novel ideas come from. If you’re able to push yourself to go beyond the common-sense ideas, who knows, you might stumble on to the next big breakthrough!
The ‘note-and-vote’ system, utilizing MÄDS100+, is incredibly versatile. There are key advantages to it, and also additional process tweaks that can be made to optimize whatever you’re collaborating on.
With this system, everyone in the meeting/workshop is heard. By allowing everyone time to think, and then present their ideas, you create an equal playing field and encourage quieter members to find their voice.
Giving everyone an equal voice to present ideas is great, but often the decision making shouldn’t be as equal. For example, the clients should always have a strong say in what their business will become. For this reason, once examples are presented, we distribute stickers for people to ‘vote’. By placing a sticker on a post it note, you give a vote of approval for the idea. To balance the overall voting process, key decision makers (CEOs, experts in a given field, etc) are given more stickers- and there’s the option to give less stickers to team members potentially too junior for as much responsibility in the process.
The MÄDS100+ principle for note-and-vote has been highly effective for us in many situations such as workshops and meetings on:
- Brand Names
- Brand Slogans
- Brand Pyramid Building
- Brand Essence
- Brand Personality
- Brand Emotional Benefits
- Brand Functional Benefits
- Website Information Architecture
- Problem Solving
- Customer Experience Mapping
- Defining Long term goals
If you have a meeting that requires ideas, and a decision, give the note-and-vote system a try, but be sure to explain the MÄDS100+ principle first to maximise the effectiveness of this exercise.
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