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Depending on your context and your background, the notion (or even terminology) of a playbook may be completely foreign or completely mundane, however there’s a huge potential upside in developing a Research Playbook for your organization. This post will go into detail as to what playbooks are, why you should have one, and how to get started. There’s also a call-to-action at the end to help produce an open-source playbook to set a standard across the industry.

Why you should have one

The justification for and benefits of implementing and maintaining a Research Playbook.

Before we get into the details of what the playbook is itself, let’s talk about why it’s important first. The playbook itself doesn’t make as much sense or drive as much value without the proper context. Ultimately, the core value of investing in and adhering to a playbook is that it will simultaneously increase the quality of research while making the research itself easier/less costly to perform. You’re probably thinking “if you can pull that off, that sounds great”, so let’s get to it. …

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These stories usually start with some sort of “when I first heard about ___”, but in this case, that goes much further back than a) the story usually goes, and b) is really practical. 1010data has been around since 2000 and has gone through tremendous growth and change as an organization since then. Recently, we’ve embarked on a new set of changes.

There are two things I hear time and time again when telling friends, family, and colleagues about what I’m doing at 1010:

  1. “that sounds super cool and like a great opportunity”
  2. “you should write about this”

I literally have a post-it note on my desk that says “Document the process” to remind myself to tell the story. This blog is one small, tangible step in that direction. …

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I’m certainly not the first person to write about the role of improv in creative processes, its value in broadening ways of thinking, creating general good-feelings (which, interestingly, go hand-in-hand), etc. However, the majority of what’s been written so far pertains to using improv exercises in group dynamics and doesn’t address its potential as a design tool.

Part of the inspiration behind this post is my recent participation in one of Improv Everywhere’s “MP3 Experiments”, in which a massive number of strangers volunteer to interact with a recorded set of instructions in a public space. The instructions started off with some simple walking games (red light/green light, remote control, etc), evolved into those that involved more interaction (follow the leader, the selfie challenge, freeze tag), and eventually culminated in a massive drum circle/orchestra (or, the “drumstick finale”, as they called it). …


Brad Orego

The only Comp Sci & Psych double-major I've ever seen. Head of User Research @ Auth0. 1/2 of Performing.Design. Dancer, curler, homebrewer.

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