You have probably heard that word a lot recently. Whether you are talking about adaptive management, design thinking or lean start up, each approach involves iteration and experimentation. Creating a prototype – something much simpler and less expensive than a pilot project – is easy to imagine when you are talking about a tangible product. But what about a program or service your nonprofit or association plans to deliver? How can you create a low cost prototype of that to get in front of your customers/members/audience?
Blah, Blah, Blah
Nonprofits and association staff often rely on describing their program – whether to their board or in a grant application – through words. It is then up to the listener/reader to imagine what they are talking about. And usually the focus was on convincing those with money to support this new venture. If the pitch is successful, the program is then funded, usually as a pilot program is developed over a few years.
4 flaws to this approach
This approach has multiple flaws that are easily addressed.
What is a storyboard?
Movies, videos, TV shows are all story boarded before filming starts. The storyboard is a sequence of drawings that show how the shots will progress. For a program you have imagined, you draw the steps in the storyboard that a program participant would take as they complete your program. Think of it as the comic book version of the program you want to create.
But I can’t draw
When I worked with the design teams a number of team members were reluctant when we got to this set because they said they couldn’t draw. I reminded them that this wasn’t the purpose – we were not looking for artistic ability. Just clear enough stick figures to show what would happen as part of the program. Here is an example of piece of one of our first draft storyboards. No awards to artistic merit here! We then worked with a professional illustrator to create clearer versions to put in front of our audience.
Benefits of the storyboard
Let’s talk. I work with associations and nonprofits to help them lower the risk out of launching new program and service development initiatives by coaching them on using human centered design innovation approaches and tools.
My passion is helping nonprofit organizations and associations have a greater mission impact.