DesignSession Event and WalkThru

Williston Geophysical NavCenter™ Facility

Yesterday I stepped up to supporting a meeting in the NavCenter space that was held today. Actually, they don't call them meetings here--they're "DesignSession events." It sounds picky but the word "design" means "to mark out"--to conceive, create and invent according to a plan. It implies the application of a creative process.

Every group that comes to the facility to work is supported by a "Stable Relationship of Three." Yup, another one of those Rules of Engagement. It means that someone facilitates the work from the front of the room, from the middle of the room and from the back of the room during a session. In this case, we had a scribe in front of the room who managed the information during the session in a visual way. Jeff B. did the scribing which included a flow chart, a mindmap and some rough templates of some screens for a software application the participants were building. Amy, one of the session participants was the sponsor of the session and facilitated from the "center of the room." She and Jeff had worked last week on a design for the session.

The group that I documented for in the morning met in front of one of these 8' Rolling L WorkWalls™ units. The 8' is actually a little deceptive because the wall actually opens to reveal 16' of work surface. It opens to about 135° to accommodate a fairly large team. Each wall has a pen tray that affixes to the wall by magnets and holds a set of markers for use on the wall.

(photograph by Cole Bellamy)

This is a picture of a Wing just like the one I worked at during this morning's Session. That's a 17" monitor on top. The wing's on wheels like everything else in the center. The work surface of the wing moves up and down to accommodate the ability to work standing or sitting.

(photograph by Cole Bellamy)

I facilitated from the back of the room. I handled logistics and also worked on a computer to capture the knowledge base of ideas as they emerged. I synthesized and summarized the conversations the participants had during the DesignSession event into a series of entries in a database--the same Ten-Step Knowledge Management database I mentioned yesterday. Actually it's a separate database but all of the databases are linked. In fact, some of our information is linked to NavCenter facilities in other companies around the world. Not the proprietary stuff, but ideas on best practices for running a NavCenter environment and things like that.

The DesignSession event only lasted until 1:00pm. By 1:30 I had finished cleaning up the documentation, we had digital camera shots of the diagrams on the WorkWalls and it was all in the computer. Amy reviewed the work in her office later that afternoon and some of the programmers pulled down images of the prototype screens from the database and began work on the coding.

At 2:00 we had a WalkThru in preparation for a two-day DesignShop® event tomorrow. We have a KreW (yes, that's how they spell it) of five. There will be 25 participants in the DesignShop process and three of those were designated as sponsors of the event. They joined the KreW for a few hours this afternoon to produce the Strawdog design. That's an hour by hour look at the two days, including what kind of exercises the group will go through. We referred to a library of documents on the MG Taylor website that helped us create the Strawdog, although a few people on the KreW were old hands at this process. After the WalkThru we spent quite a bit of time crafting the assignments that the participants would use during the first day of the DesignShop. If you don't ask the right questions and ask them well, you don't get good answers. Then we prepped the space--that's another one of the Rules of Engagement, Maintaining the Center as an Invitation to Work. It was spotless when we left, all of the chairs were arranged, the pen trays straightened, squirt bottles filled, cables arranged: everything was arrayed in order to welcome the participants and facilitate their rapid and easy immersion into their work.

Like a stage in a theater waiting for the actors to start the play. The stage hands (including me) have to arrive tomorrow morning early, so I'll end this entry.

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