Sometimes our ideas progress faster than our ability to refine them. Sketching is an incredibly helpful way to traverse the early stages of design & ideation. Sketches allow us to move fast, discuss, and validate multiple ideas quickly without fully committing to them and without significant cost or investment. Sketches help us get beyond words, into more clearly communicating relationships & concepts as we move toward clarity together. And while designers may be known for great looking sketches, we know that sketching is a meaningful way for anyone from any discipline to collaborate & contribute to any discussion.
Focused sketching exercises
One of our favorite sketching exercises is Crazy 8’s, often used in our Strategy & Alignment sessions. This classic design thinking exercise is a great way to have team members of all roles & responsibilities think quickly around multiple ways to approach solving a problem. In it, the entire team quickly draws out 8 very small little doodles to explain how they see the solution in their head. This act of getting the idea out visual can be a huge leap forward toward a shared understanding among the team.
So often, conflict comes when a verbal description— as in, written or spoken — is interpreted, designed, built and released in a way that others on the team weren’t expecting. It might be the right approach or the wrong one— only testing will tell — but misaligned expectations can often lead to project churn, distrust, & a sense of starting over no matter how good the idea or solution is.
Where to sketch
Sketching doesn’t have to be done in a beautiful leather bound sketch journal. In fact, most of our sketching at Crema takes place on a white board, back of a napkin, sticky note, or whatever paper is on-hand. The sketches themselves are dispensable. They are a means to communicate the interpretation or exploration of an idea with minimal risk, expense, or downside. And they are iterative, intended to make a connection and be set aside.
Don’t spend too much time on your sketches; get them down, share them, and use that momentum to bring them to life quickly in a more refined & accessible way. You know, like a prototype, app, platform, or website.
We would love to sketch with you. Let’s get a strategy and alignment session scheduled.