The future workshop is a useful method to involve users in your designprocess.
As I written in some of my blog posts: to design a great User Experience you need to involve the users. You have to involve users from the start of the design process. Future workshop is a way for you to collaborate with users and identify the problems in the current situation. After you have identified a vision and also solutions to the problem that will lead to the vision.
A future workshop consists of three phases:
It's important that you involve people who are affected by your design project, mainly user. It might also be other designers in the project or system developers. The workshop will help explain the current situation and also to generate ideas that will lead to a new and better situation.
If your workshop is going to be successful, you or someone you pick need to facilitate. It's important that you set a maximum time limit for each stage. You have to try to involve some of the people that are affected by the present situation and that will be affected by the solution (your design).
You perform a brainstorming session with the purpose to identify problems in the current situation. No talking, all participants write down the problems they have identified. As facilitator you set the time and also stop the session when time is up.
When you finished the brainstorming, put the problems together in related areas and display them so all participants can see them.
In this phase, you let everyone brainstorm about how the "perfect situation" should be. It's important that it's free to imagine here, no restrictions. I recommend you to begin with answers to turn some of the identified problems into positive statements. Another tips is that you ask the participants how the situation could be if everything was "perfect" and let them brainstorm about that. What possibilities will lie in the future?
You can do so in two ways: each participator writes down their ideas, or let everyone speak out loud and you take notes.
After the brainstorming, let all participators vote for their favourites. Chose the most popular ideas and let small groups work with them to describe them in more detail.
Let the smaller groups present their ideas to the rest of the participators
In this phase, should you look deeper and discuss if the ideas are possible to develop. Are they realistic?
Analyse constraints and other obstacles to reach the vision of the future. Which ideas are feasible to implement?
Last thing you need to make in the workshop is to write down solutions to reach the chosen vision. Create a plan with tasks and activities.
When you do a future workshop you have a great opportunity to involve users in the design process. It is also a great way to develop a vision for the future. All participators are involved and get a chance to contribute. You also get a chance to analyze the future situation and make a first implementation plan.
Original post can be found here: moreusability.com