It is said a Dream is a wish your heart makes! A beautiful dream is a place where seemingly impossible things happen and you go with the flow happily enjoying the experience in your mind space. Some people prefer to stay in this ‘dream’ phase and try to escape reality. While some people wake up and get working to transform their dreams to reality. UX Designers fall in the latter category.
Does one need to ‘learn’ how to dream??
Well…YES!! At least in UX Design world, we need to learn how to dream with our eyes & ears open. And as any experience we have with dreams, the dream phase is one of the delightful phases in the whole design process. This phase is all about exchanging divergent thinking and sharing out of the box experiences regarding the subject at hand. We need to have a collective dream to bring it to reality. It is a participatory process where one person has to take on the role of an ‘Interview Moderator’ and orchestrate the whole process. Here the conversations should revolve around imagining that ‘sweet spot’ where everything is working at peak potential and images that evoke pictures of a bright future.
For this to happen, we first we need to 'discover' an organization's positive core and to imagine & envision its future. In the Dream Stage of UX Design, you emphasize on the prospect of what is possible. We have to break the mental barriers that people normally function, in terms of how they feel, see, act or react. So if you pave the way to exercise this kind of unbridled and divergent Dream session you will see and appreciate things in a new way.
What kind of people should we involve in this Dream phase?
For this dream phase, various stakeholders, users, and UX designers can be involved as people with different perspectives and POV's are required to understand the bigger picture. This also helps us dream up a solution that can add value for all involved. According to Tim Brown of IDEO, we are moving away from ‘how to get people to consume more’, to ‘how do we get more meaningful and participative experiences that we can build value from’. According to him, the 21st century is the ‘creator’ economy. This generation will no longer be the exclusive domain of the elite ‘creative’ people. The model that will dominate will be a participatory process involving each of us contributing through small creative acts that can produce a greater good. Thus, the discussions can also involve finding a win-win goal of making it a better world along with the interests of the organization.
Defining the Dream
This kind of divergent thinking and brainstorming sessions can help us envision many possibilities for the future. Now, this kind of dream needs convergent thinking which leads to crystallization of the dream. This entails having to chisel out a sharper and clearer version of the dream envisioned by everyone. This will help everyone see the same version of the dream and help cut & polish it like a precious stone for it to shine like a star for everyone to work towards. The projection of a clear picture of the dream should be imprinted in the minds of everyone; so much so, that they can smell, touch, feel and taste it. They should reach a state where they can visualize the exact common dream in their minds and work in tandem with each other to achieve it. Thus to attain this kind of desired clarity about the dream, asking the following questions will help
give it shape −
So rather than creating a mission statement, the Dream Stage “results in something more symbolic, like a graphical representation” (Bushe, 2011). Go ahead now, dream on in UX Design and create fantastic experiences & realities for your users.