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July 10/15 2017

Hi Rob,

Here below some of my notes after the inception process week for the pilots in Amsterdam. I will use my own categories to sketch a prepositive alternative methodology

Actions are set are divided in 5 macro periods: Ideation, pre production, production, post production and delivery.


  • here is were information is not yet formalized in any way but some “vision” is there. Here are the basic context frames. In our case Keywords like “airbnb fine in barcelona, fairbnb project in amsterdam, gebiedonline's 30’000 users, airbnb scraping by Amsterdam city council… is a Gestalt.
    • all these "information" should somehow get into a dossier, but after all they become the initial seed of the project pilots narrative, that has been written, submitted, and approved beforehand. If you formalize this process too much you kill it.
    • A "story" for the pilots is shaped here. It is important that the "story" is told explicitly. A blog post is maybe enough, but it will help a good deal to be sure the process led to clear enough visions on what we have to do, and that it is (maybe) open to externs to takle in, just because is intelligible.
    • Some storytelling exercise has to be put in space here: 5W, for example, but not only.
    • The "why" is the most stringent part of the story.
    • Also what form/style/sign is more meaningfull/appropriate for the objectives of the action.


  • Pre production is a effective time for planning
  • a good scheme to prepare a action plan in this case is: Objectives, People, Means, Instruments, Timeline, Budget/constraints, deliverables followup/evaluation
  • the agenda is drafted in pre production in a open way and distributed first thing
  • list of distribution for the event are established and tested
  • the call sheet is drafted in pre production (and revised in production at the end of every day)
  • a main refer for each partner is appointed for coordination/communication, takes care that everybody is aware of changes in program in production phase and of planning in this one
  • In pre production some practical questions must have answer and a agenda has to be positively assessed. for example: not only the 5 W (were when who why what) have to feedback in a pre production Q&A but some ideas on how to disclose the toolkit of Decode to the pilot had to be set forward. Requirements for development have to be already sketched and the personnel to involve has to be chosen and briefed beforehand, to lose as little time as possible in questioning the pilot
  • Video Storytelling can be inserted here, has to follow the event pre production to express her angles efficiently through visual language. The first storytelling is very important.


So called "inception" by thoughtworks

  • The moment of intensive work with the pilot in the first general event has to have explicitly these focus: — establish a good working environment between the teams (stakeholder coordination) — establish a co-design practice with the pilot (within the limits of the action intended) — produce a viable analysis that leads to a MVP/Prototype that can be iterated in production steps — establish a situation analysis within a set of observations that can be told in a story and followed in its evolution, for communication afterwards. AS IN THE IDEATION process this part of the Production has to be PRESENTED. A final presentation of some form is the only acceptable way to end the work done.
  • Prototyping has to be done here. Either Digital or UX. But things have to reach a shape imediately because the method has to be used fully or it will not take a hold on people involved.
  • is very important to have a observer that can extract information about stakeholder and their feedback wile the process flows
  • Scenario development has to be done and formalized in the process of inception.
    • We can use storyboarding, Scriptwriting, Editing, all kind of means to express the knowledge excerted by the sessions. A monolithic approach to the session is only putting some people out of the possibility to contribute. Why to use valuable software engineer time to shuffle post-it on boards when the hard core of his future work questions is accessible in front of him if he is allowed to use his laptop?
  • For any inception like production, the product is composed by:
    • the Analysis in a document
    • the Technical Requirements in another document
    • The Risks Assumptions
    • Stakeholder coordination effects and good practices
    • Communication deliverables
    • Feedback clear and concise to consortium about WP
    • Technical meetings can always be followed by an observer. He can then just at the end rephrase the outcome in terms that can be communicated, make sure the meeting is wrapped up correctly and everyone is agreeing they are on the page to the representation of their work.
    • More philosophical or ethical talks can have a space but is best to give this space a representation that is into the communication channel, it has to fit the story, to feed the energy, not to kill it. For this technical people pragmatism can be a blessing or a killing force. It has to be very aware the moderation of these context dynamics. NOTHING IS SUBSTITUTE FOR CLEAR OBJECTIVES! Without clear objectives no discussion will lead to useful conclusions.
    • Design with the real people that are going to be our users and our personas is fun for all, if well contextualize. The invention of "fake protopersonas" is equally killing. There is a practice, in storytelling that is apt to mediate between these extremes: character construction. It starts with observation, that is guided by exercises, and then, when necessary abstracts from real stories a series of characters that are geared to illustrate better the storyline, or simplify its ingestion. Is important to use similar tactics, bottom up, in a co-design approach.

Post production

  • Post production has to be minimal
  • there is no "we do it later in post"
  • Post production is costly
  • post production kills the enthusiasm
  • SO?
    • Postproduce only the right necessary documents to set everyone up on the same track. Many post exercises are just missed chances of pre-produce some workflow
    • study can be postproduced but better say it at the end of production phase. It den becomes a found of a process insted of a left over of a disfunction. Research does not always find a solution, else we would have a cure for cancer by now.
    • if you can do it good do it good, else maybe you can do without
    • deliver proofread stuff anytime you can, else say it needs proofreading. That is something that can be done in post.


  • what are the deliverables
  • how they are circulated
  • i deliverables for the team and for the pilot differ, let's be sure everyone knows, and that the story for the pilot is coherent

Observations on Amsterdam Pilot case IDEATION

  • To launch a “open call” was a big mistake/waste of time;
    • nothing substitutes a good research; this has some intuitive processes and a final assestment. Before an "inception" you must do your research. FairBnB pilot was anyway worked out for a year from within the waag ecosystem. Seeing the poverty of the work done we entered in bringing in the “vision” and some information that was key to the process.
  • In the future is better to find a possible pilot, by active research, BEFORE, even in the phase were the project is taking shape, so in ideation. Eventually a BETTER ONE can always pop up at the right time if the vision is well worked out it will be easy to recognise it.
  • key in working out any collaboration is people involved, to meet people and listen to them is of outmost importance. Not only in official situation, but in the situation they are more at ease.

Observations on Amsterdam Pilot case INCEPTION

  • Previous work done by Waag was not sufficient and ill conceived. This resulted to a major delay and a waste of resources that we have already analyse some were else. The corrections were barely sufficient and required a lot of attention and diplomatic efforts from all sides.
  • Pre production time was mainly used to assets these “communication" problems (in reality these problems have a different nature were ego plays a big role in them) and fix some of them.
  • there was no real shared assestment of story in pre production
  • there was no END presentation, leaving everyone cold feet about that on friday. No recapitulation
  • form was almost exclusively discussion and question. No interaction, no observation, no prototipisation or user journey on prototype, no co-design.
  • the activities above were not even planned clearly in an agenda.
  • stakeholder coordination then becomes a desperate attempt to bring tired people to have dinner together in a peacefull context to allow one to one conversations
  • Agenda and clock were tools used to dictate roles and not to help functions and flows
  • parking lot sucks
  • also "rules hanging over the door" sucks
    • the rules were obnoxius.
    • dont' tell me how to do my job, help me do it in a new way. Inspire dont' dictate. Rules are for trolls and schools
  • collabortive vs collaborative : how we almost got a pilot walking away from the room friday after lunch?

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CIID methodology


Collaborative Workshops Designing and facilitating stakeholder workshops to define a common view. Our workshops involve a mix of presentation, inspiration and active participation for the purpose of aligning stakeholders, building ownership and making decisions. Stakeholder Alignment Co-creation Sessions Idea Generation Facilitated Decision Making

Value Chain Understanding Designing in context interviews with the right stakeholders. We design discussion guides and tangible tools to drive the appropriate conversations and to help our interviewees articulate what they truly mean. Whether it’s with 6 people or dozens of people, we know how to extract meaningful insights. Contextual Interviews Respondent Shadowing User Observation Video Diaries Stakeholder Workshops

Opportunity Mapping Synthesising knowledge into visual & actionable opportunities. Our insights won’t get stuck on a shelf. We transform research data into meaningful visualised constructs that together we can use to drive concept development. Analysis Pattern Recognition Customer Journeys Service Blueprints System Diagrams

Scenario Development Visualising ideas early to help the right choices emerge. Products and services don’t exist in isolation. Our scenarios help to give early stage ideas a meaningful context and multiple levels from which to evaluate their potential - from user experience to desirability and feasibility to market potential. Concept Sketching Idea Generation Prioritisation & Filtering Concept Scripting Visualisation & Communication

Video Storytelling Selling-in ideas through concise & inspiring videos. We bring clarity to the development process by visualising concepts to inspire stakeholders and deliver the same concise message, no matter who is telling the story. Storyboarding Scriptwriting Planning Production Editing & Motion Graphics Art Direction

Physical Prototyping Experiencing ideas early by hacking functionality, look and feel. Whether it’s in the early, middle or late stages of development, we build tangible artefacts that demonstrate the critical touch-points in a user experience. Programming Component Sourcing Surface Modelling 3D Printing Visual Design Prototype Architectures & Assembly

Digital Prototyping Experiencing ideas early by hacking functionality, look and feel. Whether it’s in the early, middle or late stages of development, we build simulated digital experiences that demonstrate the critical touch-points in a user experience. System Architectures Wireframes Visual Design & Iconography Coding Animations UI Design

Validation Frequently capturing feedback from the right stakeholders. We look to the ecosystem of stakeholders to help us establish the validity of our concepts along the way - from user experience to market viability. User Testing Stakeholder Workshops One-on-one Interviews Experience Prototypes