SCENARIO DESIGN

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© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

Heuristics for Scenario Design

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Overview

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 01
Envisioned World

SCENARIO DESIGN

“The problem in design today is not can we build it, but rather what would be useful
to build given the wide array of new possibilities technology provides?”1

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A process
Designers must perform some level of envisioning to imagine a successful design. It is an exploration into the domain in question to understand
the implications of a given system design. Envisioning involves integrating some new technology, system, or service into an environment. The
envisioning process requires telling stories through an understanding of the burgeoning technology and the domain.
Physical and Functional plausibility
These stories must be both physically and functionally plausible. Physically they must be bound to the physical properties of the domain, making
them believable to real practitioners as a valid representation of their world. Functionally, these stories must demonstrate knowledge of the
intricacies and subtleties of the domain which justify explorations of future situations. Practitioners must be able to understand and give credibility
to stories which purport to define their future.
Scenarios
Effective ways of telling a story
Envisioning how storylines play out works well in the context of a scenario. Scenarios contain an accurate model of the world showing how
behaviors continue to adapt to constraints and goals in the field of practice. These adaptations point to generic problems being manifested locally
in the domain, and are crucial to understanding and envisioning future behaviors.

The gap between technologists and practitioners
To gain a glimpse about what might be a useful application of technology in some domain, you must have a thorough understanding of the
cognitive challenges facing practitioners, and how those challenges would be assuaged (or exacerbated) by the introduction of new systems or
technologies. This introduces the Practitioner / Technologist Gap. The practitioner is disabled because he is concerned with solving real
problems, irrespective of technological advances. The technologist is disabled because she is focused on developing new products, largely
irrespective of specific needs. This creates a situation where the technologist doesn't truly know how her products can help, and the practitioner
doesn't truly know what the technology can do for him. The methods introduced here are intended to bridge this gap and provide a balance
between the technologist and the practitioner to better understand how each can benefit the other.
How do you bridge the gap?
Bridging this gap requires a thorough understanding of the domain and what it means to be a practitioner in that domain. One trap is becoming
too engrossed in the domain that you take on the perspective of an insider, and are thus incapable of truly objective viewpoints and innovations.
This understanding must also be tempered with an understanding of the technology and how it is advancing. A thorough cognitive task analysis
(CTA) can help gain an appreciation for the constraints faced by real practitioners and insight into how to successfully integrate new technology.
Effective CTA should not simply list what happens in an environment, but provide direct insights which act as pointers for future design.

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

1 Properties of Envisioned Worlds

Heuristics for Scenario Design
“The problem in design today is not can we build it, but rather what would be useful
to build given the wide array of new possibilities technology provides?”1

Scene 01
Envisioned World

SCENARIO DESIGN
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1.1 Properties of Envisioned Worlds

• How will envisioned technological change shape cognition and collaboration?
• How will practitioners adapt artifacts, given mismatches to the actual demands and
pressures they experience, to meet their own goals?
• How can we predict the changing nature of expertise and new forms of failure as the
workplace changes?
• How will design processes create new tools that useful and robust since there are limits
to predictions of a co-evolutionary process?

All of these characteristics of an envisioned world must be considered to ground our observations
in context of the technology and practice around the people in the domain. These are not
requirements per se, but rather points upon which to speculate how new ideas and design may
impact future work. This work puts the emphasis on incorporating application and system design
at the forefront to keep pace with rapid technological and organizational change.

For further explanation of envisioned world based design refer to the appendix

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

• How does one envision or predict the relation of technology, cognition and collaboration
in a domain that doesn’t yet exist or is in a process of becoming?

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 02
de:cycle

SCENARIO DESIGN
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“Finding promising directions is like a voyage of discovery”2

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As we start to approach these envisioned operations, we must employ a process of design- we
saw that the very nature of design could improve cognitive work, and this led to the development
of the de:cycle as tool and as process. The de:cycle is cyclical and provides a general
framework that captures basic functions in research and development as design produces new
futures in an operational setting. The de:cycle process is non-linear and distributed over multiple
groups with parallel cross-connections. The design process that the cycle depicts acts as a
synchronization tool moving back in design, it traces intent and the basis for intent hypotheses
about what would be useful. The cyclical structure is based on six design functions:
• Distill- identify stories from field research
• Identify- abstract patterns and concepts from these stories
• Simulate- pick up leverage points that cast design opportunities
• Define- tune the functional fidelity of these designs
• Adjust- CSE turns envisioned artifacts into sharable product
• Collect- release the product and collect new stories about the future
The abstracted patterns are the initial input to the cyclical process, while the output will then be an
animock that shares an envisioned story about the future of operations.

For further reference please see the appendix

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

2 the de: cycle

Heuristics for Scenario Design
“Compelling communication is needed so that the relevant ideas are not lost in the
noise of data, technology, and change.”3

Scene 03
animock

SCENARIO DESIGN
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3 Telling a story- the animock as visual narrative

These go beyond simple ‘use scenarios’ and coupled with a strong grounding in the domain of practice
our practice is well situated in incorporating multiple converging perspectives from across domains,
academia, and industry- to interact with designers and practitioners to:

•Presenting a designer’s direction
•Verify domain knowledge and assumptions
•Get constant feedback from practitioners and stake-holders
Written reports and static representation alone do not capture, or represent, commitment to the demands
of the domain- ideas and representations must be animated by stories that integrate design artifacts into
a compelling and realistic use scenario that is observable, and more importantly, relatable to the
practitioners. The narrative evolves from these patterns of cognitive work catered to the demands and
interactions of people in the domain. Our definition and guidelines for animock design. Animation requires
a storyboard and where we differentiate from traditional design processes, the animock must be dynamic,
explicit, sharable, open to critique and revision, and able to co-evolve with the design resulting in what is
a representation of a hypothesis open to revision.

For further reference please see the appendix

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

Use of narrative drives the story-telling engine to support and structure both analysis as well as
communication. Complemented by work exploring new techniques first, in the creative design process
(de:cycle) grounded in the envisioned world, and manifest in animated scenario development (animock)
to aid in the creation, sharing, and revision are stories about the future.

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 03
Narrative

SCENARIO DESIGN
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“Compelling communication is needed so that the relevant ideas are not lost in the
noise of data, technology, and change.” 3

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3.1 Visual Story Telling- supporting research through the art of visual story telling
As part of the Institute for Collaborative Innovation  run by Ohio State University's Cognitive Systems Engineering Laboratory (C/S/E/L), Professor Phillips speaks on storyboarding as a technique to evolve
narrative support and structure for analysis as well as for communication. Professor Flip Phillips of Skidmore College has participated in the annual  Institute for Collaborative Innovation as part of collaborations
with C/S/E/L team members.  He combines research human perception  and his experience as an animation scientist and technical director at Pixar Animation Studios.

➡ visual narrative
➡ preliminary boards
➡ sequence boards




Click to view the presentation (29:37)

(introduce temporal
component)
goodie board
story reel
pitch (adaptive)
tools for creation
data analysis

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

We have begun exploring storyboarding techniques to aid in visual narrative and approaching animock design. Some of the best work in design, tells a good story, and what we are talking about is visual narrative.

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 04
Heuristics

SCENARIO DESIGN
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We have begun to expand upon the scenario development process: to use scenarios and storytelling
devices to elicit collaboration across diverse groups engaged in design and development. The story
framework we lay can be used not only in conducting research and seeing how cognitive systems principles
play out in practice- but also to evolve story frameworks from which to play out multiple diverse detailed
scenarios.
1. Envisioning Future Scenarios
Designers must perform some level of envisioning to imagine a successful design. It is an exploration into
the domain in question to understand the implications of a given system design. Envisioning involves
integrating some new technology, system, or service into an environment. The envisioning process requires
telling stories through an understanding of the burgeoning technology and the domain. The envisioned
operation must be looked at across four specific dimensions:




plurality
underspecification
groundedness
calibration

2. de:cycle grounded in the domain of practices
Experts must be integrated into the coordinated design experience. They complement the multiple
perspectives necessary to provide insight across the design cycle to observe, explore, and create. The roles
of practitioner, innovator, and technologists interact to produce future trajectories for investigation.






Distill
Identify
Simulate
Define
Adjust
Collect

3. Employing Narrative to Tell Stories
The story framework defines a collaborative environment in which multiple perspectives on development
can be integrated. These stories must introduce an overview to the operations involved, the sequence of
events, critical episodes that underlie generic patterns in cognitive work to illustrate the flow of the narrative
with the context establishing background. Within each of these, cross connecting relationships and
cascading events can be employed based on the goal of the scenario design.




introduction
sequence of events
critical episodes
falling action and conclusion

4. Animock
The animock represents the scenario. It is the culmination of the previous steps reflecting current views of
future operations to various stakeholders for sharing, elaboration, and critiquing. In defining the stage,
actors, and events that make up the scenario grounded in a domain of practice. From these components
explore the interrelationships across dimensions, ie blocking, pacing, point of view, conflict, plot resolution.
The animock servers as a storytelling framework and engine to guide and play-out interactions and
relationships to facilitate envisioning across perspectives.

➡ define stage, actors, events
➡ explore relationships through blocking, pacing, point of view

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

4 Outline of Heuristics

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 05
Telling a story

SCENARIO DESIGN
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5 Challenge: employing these design techniques as a scaffolding device to create design seeds and tell a story to aid intelligence analysis

1. Defining the stage
The stage mocks up the physical design environment. In the context of the show, not only are the
events in the envisioned world being experienced by the envisioned intelligence analysts in our
scenario, but the entire show is constructued as a participatory ‘ride’ in which the navigation of the
physical space mimicks the exploration of the concepts being explored. Over four different
iterations of floor layout were conceived and as this became the driving force, micro-scenarios
powering each design seed were catered to fit within the show context.

2. Casting the Actors
A duality of actors exist. First, researchers are playing the role of anthropologists relaying the design
seeds and plot elements of the ongoing scenario. Actors in the scenario itself reflect the researchers
and are incorporated into the design seeds. The audience, then, is also an actor in each scene
relating and interacting with the researchers in the context of the scenario. This continuous change
and manipulation of point-of-view is used not just to relate the stage, to the actors, to the event- but
also to actively incorporate the audience literally, into the story.

3. Incorporating Events
Events in the scenario reshape tasks in the physical environment and initiate responses by the
actors that experience and produce states in their environment on the animock stage, as well as
the physical stage of the show. In this early illustration, of the concept, we looked at this quite
deliberately as a finite state machine. From this, we worked with each concept area to develop
micro-scenarios for their design seeds that reinforced action and events into the overarching
scenario.

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

This last section of the topic landscape is a quick overview following how these processes played out in designing a scenario for
the Institute’s Summer 2006 production. It highlights a few of the concepts employed to both scaffold the researcher’s design
seeds, and frame a vehicle for the sharing of concepts.

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 05
Telling a story

SCENARIO DESIGN
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5.1 defining the stage

show and scenario layout iterations (click to enlarge)

Scenario: Listening to Angola & West Africa

3. Angola Desk
Meade

#3

4. Concepts

#
7

2. NIST Angola
Info Exchange

Analysis of Analysis in Scenario

#4
1. Introduction

q1, qf
#
5

#
6

q2
5. Conclusion
events
&
actions

Blowup of 2. and 3.

events
&
actions

N

bitch

#1

1. Participatory
Procsses View
Cluster

2. Handoffs

3. Integrative
Analysis
through
Collaborative
MetaData

#2

4. Mad Dog
Mike

Preliminary Equipment List
x 9 Projectors

converging perspectives
Angola Plot:
making analysis of analysis observable
& directable
Micro Scenario:
LNG & Rigor

brain storm

preliminary

cognitive challenges assoc.
with shared perspectives & common ground
Angola Plot:
addrssing the coming up to speed
problem
Micro Scenario:
tactical military
relief in place

dyanmic and emergent organization, based
on human-machine coopeartive tagging
Angola Plot:
powering the process view to
enable going beyond semantic tagging
Micro Scenario:
Angolan Blood Diamonds

Supporting broadening -> rigor,
avoid premature narrowing

x 4 Reverse Projection Screens

Angola Plot:
dynamics and functions of personnel
in escalating situation at platform
Micro Scenario:
Angolan Blood Diamonds

Angolan Flora
x 3 Conference Tables
#1

sequence

#2

final show

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

The stage mocks up the physical design environment. In the context of the show, not only are the events in the envisioned world being experienced by the envisioned intelligence analysts in our scenario,
but the entire show is constructed as a participatory ‘ride’ in which the navigation of the physical space mimicks the exploration of the concepts being explored. Over four different iterations of floor layout
were conceived and as this became the driving force, micro-scenarios powering each design seed were catered to fit within the show context.

SCENARIO DESIGN
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5.1 Defining the stage: different iterations of the stage as show

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© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 05
telling a story

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 05
telling a story

SCENARIO DESIGN
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5.1 Defining the stage: different iterations of the stage as show

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Analysis of Analysis in Scenario
Scenario: Listening to Angola & West Africa

q2

events
&
actions

events
&
actions

bitch

1. Participatory
Procsses View
Cluster

converging perspectives
Angola Plot:
making analysis of analysis observable
& directable
Micro Scenario:
LNG & Rigor

2. Handoffs

cognitive challenges assoc.
with shared perspectives & common ground
Angola Plot:
addrssing the coming up to speed
problem
Micro Scenario:
tactical military
relief in place

3. Integrative
Analysis
through
Collaborative
MetaData
dyanmic and emergent organization, based
on human-machine coopeartive tagging
Angola Plot:
powering the process view to
enable going beyond semantic tagging
Micro Scenario:
Angolan Blood Diamonds

4. Mad Dog
Mike

Supporting broadening -> rigor,
avoid premature narrowing
Angola Plot:
dynamics and functions of personnel
in escalating situation at platform
Micro Scenario:
Angolan Blood Diamonds

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

q1, qf

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 05
telling a story

SCENARIO DESIGN
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1

5.1 Defining the stage: different iterations of the stage as show
3. Angola Desk
Meade

#3

3

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B

4. Concepts

#
7

2. NIST Angola
Info Exchange

2

#4

#
5
#
6

5. Conclusion
Blowup of 2. and 3.
N
#1

#2

Preliminary Equipment List
x 9 Projectors
x 4 Reverse Projection Screens
Angolan Flora
x 3 Conference Tables
#1

#2

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

1. Introduction

SCENARIO DESIGN
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5.1 Defining the stage: different iterations of the stage as show

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© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 05
telling a story

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 05
telling a story

SCENARIO DESIGN
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5.2 casting the actors

actors from micro-scenario 1
martin voshell
actors from participatory process view concept
daniel zelik

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

A duality of actors exist. First, researchers are playing the role of anthropologists relaying the design seeds and plot elements of the ongoing
scenario. Actors in the scenario itself reflect the researchers and are incorporated into the design seeds. The audience, then, is also an actor in each
scene relating and interacting with the researchers in the context of the scenario. This continuous change and manipulation of point-of-view is used
not just to relate the stage, to the actors, to the event- but also to actively incorporate the audience literally, into the story.

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 05
telling a story

SCENARIO DESIGN
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5.3 incorporating events

early concept outline for strategic
intel in Angola
wayne redenbarger

final SITREP for the start of
the scenario
martin voshell, stoney trent, wayne redenbarger

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

Events in the scenario reshape tasks in the physical environment and initiate responses by the actors that experience and produce states in their environment on the animock stage, as well as the physical
stage of the show. In this early illustration, of the concept, we looked at this quite deliberately as a finite state machine. From this, we worked with each concept area to develop micro-scenarios for their
design seeds that reinforced action and events into the overarching scenario.

SCENARIO DESIGN
*

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early concept outline for strategic
intel in Angola- this was utilized
across groups to help evoke some of
the key concepts and scenario
elements to begin to relate into the
envisioned scenario
outline by
wayne redenbarger

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 05
telling a story

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 05
telling a story

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5.3 employing these design techniques as a scaffolding device to create design seeds and tell a story to aid intelligence analysis

Against the backdrop of a pre-existing world-wide energy crisis caused by
instability in oil producing countries, the West African offshore oil reserves have
become an exploration target of choice for the oil exploration industry. African
oil has become a priority for US National Security as well as African
development. The number of unclaimed oil fields is rapidly diminishing, and the
US is overseeing, protecting, and supporting the oil interests of many West
African countries.
The African Oil Policy Group has been lobbying to declare the oil rich regions just
off of Cabinda as “an area of vital interest” to America and therefore has
requested a significant US military presence in the region. The African coast has
huge oil reserves; however, per capita, Angola is still among the poorest
countries in the world. Angola and its immediate neighbors are currently
suffering from a multi-year country-wide famine with government corruption
and local guerilla groups on the rise, e.g., half of all state revenue disappeared in
2001.
During the recent civil war, rebel groups controlled most of the country’s
diamond mines and by ignoring UN sanctions, were able to fund their campaigns
through illegal diamond sales. Many of these guerilla groups have come to
embrace smuggling and are thought to be well financed.
Off Cabinda, rigs fill up a supertanker with light crude oil every 4 days. As
production has increased, attacks on oil facilities by rebel groups have beome
more frequent. For now, this seems like terrorism for profit, not necessarily
political activity; but with an increased US/UN concentration, this dynamic may
change.
Most of the current offshore platforms and new planned sites are being
developed in the Zaire river basin, a favored safe-haven for guerrillas during the
Civil War that has recently ended. In response to the increase in frequency and
sophistication of the attacks: seizure of rigs, jacks, and platforms, US DoD has
implemented an operational intercept and communication center in Angola.

In response to industry and international demands for stability in the region, the
United States/UN has established a military mission in Angola. The purpose of
this mission is to maintain a safe and secure environment for Angolan and
international business.
The US intelligence community has established a National Intelligence Support
Team to provide intelligence support for four primary consumers with various
responsibilities in the region.
Because this has not been declared a theater of war, the State Department
has maintained overall responsibility for all operations in West Africa.
They are concerned with maintaining diplomatic ties with the Angolan
government, and assessing the intent of major civilian, government, and
guerrilla organizations in the region.
The Navy has the responsibility for maintaining sea lines of
communication as well as protecting the 50+ oil platforms in the region
from piracy.
Special Operations Command has deployed teams to the region to establish
training for Angolan counter-guerrilla units as well as collect information
on the intent of existing and newly-formed guerrilla elements.
Finally, Congress is increasingly concerned with the implications of
instability in the region and its impact on national policy in the ongoing
energy crisis.
You and your group have been assigned to the NIST located in the US embassy in
Luanda, Angola.
Good luck.

The final SITREP designed
to introduce both the
envisioned scenariodescribe the tactical and
strategic elements in the
story, outline the actors, and
set the events in motion for
the show
created by
martin voshell
stoney trent
wayne redenbarger

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

SitRep: Angola

SCENARIO DESIGN
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story reel for introduction to CPoD 2006
martin voshell

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© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 06
Story Reel

Heuristics for Scenario Design

Scene 07
Bibliography

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Appendix and Bibliography

2. For further information on the de:cycle, please see:
Roesler, A, Woods, D, Feil, M. Inveting the future of cognitive work: navigating the ‘northwest passage’
available at: http://csel.eng.ohio-state.edu/blog/wordpress/?p=87
3. Original quote attributed to Dr. Flip Phillips, in context of his podcast and lecture available at:
http://csel.eng.ohio-state.edu/podcasts/welcome.html
4. For more information about animocks and using design to tell stories about the future, please visit the section on our website:
http://csel.eng.ohio-state.edu/blog/wordpress/?p=32

http://csel.eng.ohio-state.edu/

© 2006 by Martin Voshell, all rights reserved

1. For further information on the Envisioned World problems please see:
Woods, D. and Dekker, S. (2000) Anticipating the effects of technological change: a new era of dynamics for human factors.
Theoretical Issues in Ergnomics Science, pp. 272-282, Vol 1, No. 3, 1 July, Taylor and Francis LTD

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