The Magic of Discovery

Put 9 experts from 9 different organizations on a project without much direction and you are likely to have at least 9 different opinions. But in the case of the public-private partnership on ID Theft and the Nexus with Illicit Activity team, that didn’t happen.
The team was tasked to explain the increasing risks of Identity theft and make some preliminary recommendations for public and private organizations for the Director of National Intelligence.
In their research, the team spoke with dozens of experts across the country. The more information they uncovered, the more difficult it became to figure out how to sort through the mountains of material. Then they turned to XPLANE.
The power of XPLANE discovery process is that the more complex and challenging the information, the more our design approach helps clients reach their goals. That’s because the discovery session is where visual thinking, co-creation, and user-centered design come to life.
At the heart of how XPLANE works is the discovery session. The magic is getting everyone with a stake into the same room and collaboratively exploring the right questions and then synthesizing and focusing in on the best solutions.
Discovery sessions are analog. There are no presentations and projectors. We use paper, Sharpies, and post-it notes to draw, write, organize, and understand. Everyone participates and everyone draws (really) even if it’s boxes and arrows. The discovery session is clear evidence that seeing is believing, and visuals are better than reading or telling.
In this session, as the ID theft team members presented their findings, we kept asking: “What does this look like?” That question focuses diverse teams on creating one view that everyone understands. Our designer kept drawing vignettes until the team aligned around the best way to clearly tell their story. The visuals make XPLANE sessions more engaging and move teams much more quickly toward their goal.
The process also freed the team from traditional static ways of organizing information, so as a group they were able to reorganize the recommendations in a new and different way centered on their audience and what would resonate with them. At the end of the 2-day session with the ID Theft team, we’d covered the walls with paper, sketches, ideas, and structures.
Clients often come to XPLANE because of the elegant and creative solutions we design including maps, infographics, animations, and games, etc. But, in the end, they realize the discovery process was equally as valuable in achieving goals.  Discovery is designed to make sense of complex information, accelerate team alignment, and create new insights.
The ID Theft group walked out of discovery with a clear sense of what they wanted to present to the Director of National Intelligence. Discovery helped unite the group around a vision of the future state of ID Theft and specific recommendations they wanted to pursue in year 2.
This year, the ID Theft working group is working with XPLANE again, and they may have started a trend, a second working group just contacted XPLANE.