Roulette: How to Design Innovative Solutions for Your Product

We want to share a story about a very useful methodology that we at Minami to explore new functionalities and concepts for the digital products we design.

When we are to start working on a new project, our work starts by identifying what is the problem our customer wants to solve with the digital product they want us to design. Once we do that and have a clear understanding, we move into exploring different concepts, ideas and flows to create a solution for their problem.

Among the different activities our design team does, we have a a methodology we call “Design Roulette”.

The French term Roulette means “little wheel” or “small wheel”. In Minami’s terms, the Roulette is a wheel where the denominator is Creativity and Team work.

The Roulette of Design

This technique has its origin in a methodology known as “brainwriting” where participants write many ideas related to a theme on cards in order to generate new concepts. In Minami we do it our way: sketching.

The Roulette is a group activity where several people define an idea they want to build upon. Once the idea has been defined, each person is handed a piece of paper where they will draw any ideas that come to their minds during a predefined time limit (say 3 minutes).

There is a timer and when time is gone, each person has to pass their concepts to the person to their right. No matter if it’s beautiful or not, the goal is to unleash creativity and think outside the box. By the way, we recommend asking people not to tell the other participants what they were trying to create.

After a full round has been completed and every person gets back their original designs, plus the ideas from others, everyone has to explain what he thinks its on their sketches and discuss what things they think could work for the idea the team is working on.

Case: The Odyssey of Waiting for the Hamburger

We were recently working on designing a new internal product for the iPhone X that seeks to make the process of ordering fast food online easier … well, not just fast food, but HAMBURGERS!

After creating our Evolution Map for this project and interviewing people who use apps to order food online, we found very interesting insights. One of them was that when people are done ordering, they keep staring at the map the apps show to see whether their order is being prepared on on their way. How boring, right?

There are many platforms and few original design solutions.

So we decided to create a new experience for Dlivr, the app we were designing and did a Design Roulette exercise based on the following premises:

– The experience of waiting has to be fun.

– The experience should be rewarding.

– The experience should engage the person and the brand.

– The experience should be something we hadn’t seen anywhere else.

Let’s do it

Eager to start sketching, all of us (Iaiá, Ferdie, Adri, Javi, Facu and Dani) were waiting for Erik, our moderator, to start the timer and start putting down all the crazy ideas we were thinking of.

We all started at the same time, drawing as fast as possible to make our concept as complete as time would allow. We repeated the same sequence six times, working for three minutes each on the concepts that were being passed every time the timer would ring, until the moment when each of us received the concept we had started just some minutes ago… and got to see really different and new ideas than the ones we had in mind.

This concept was started by Javi: We went from an experience based on maps, to another where friends became ingredients to build and win a hamburger.
Scan to a friend when you see it to get prizes? Maybe it’s easier to invite him to eat a hamburger and play Mario Kart!

Each of us presented (or tried to make sense of what we had in our papers ) to the rest of our teammates. You can imagine what followed: Lots of laughs, questions, ideas and jokes about the concepts that we had been going through and so many new creative ideas that we didn’t think of before the activity. It’s when we learned how each of us tried to interprete and align the concepts we were receiving to the objectives we had defined at the beginning of the activity.

Checkpoints on a map, profiles of people who develop hamburgers faster and exchange promos between loyal customers to the business …
Coupons to share with your friends, a new game inspired by the casinos and a much more fun map …
Augmented reality, discovery of hidden products in your neighborhood, ranking of loyal customers … endless possibilities!

Tweaking the Concept

Once we were done with the Design Roulette, we worked on combining, modifying, removing and generating new ideas (something that in the jargon is known as the SCAMPER methodology), based on the concepts we had generated, closing in with the following statement:

When the order confirmation screen appears, we will display a prominent message that invites the person to play.

– “To play what?” One could ask.
– “If I’m just waiting for my food …”.
We are talking about a unique and engaging game.
We want the person to ask “What kind of game could I find here?

So we came up with a game where the person throws the dice into the map shown on the tracking screen. Each dice contains different Dlivr products and if the dice falls into the path the delivery person will follow, the customer will get that product completely free on their next order. Sweeet right?

With this idea in mind, we worked on wireframes based on the idea we had generated among all of us, one of which you can see below:

It’s Showtime

Once we had validated the wireframes, made sure we had considered different scenarios and flows between the interfaces, we moved forward with what we are most passionate about: visual design. typography, reticles, colors, micro interactions and motion to give life and personality to this original idea, reaching the result we share below.

This is the result we reached: A fun and rewarding way to wait for your burger to arrive :).

By the way … this is the brand we designed for this app. How do you like it?

Conclusion

As you can see, using Roulette on your projects can lead to the creation of unique and innovative solutions✌️.

The following are some recommendations for running a successful Roulette activity:

– Have at least three people participating. Not necessarily designers.

– It doesn’t matter if you are not good drawing. Represent everything you imagine and be creative!

– Define a period of time for each round. We usually work with rounds of three minutes and four when we consider that the idea is complex or very abstract.

– Refrain from explanining what you tried to draw when you pass your concept. Make use of creativity and your imagination!

– The bigger the variety of pens, markers, colors and elements you have, the better!

– If your team is distributed around the world, you can use Freehand, from Invision, to work on different canvases at the same time. We had tried and it can also lead to good results

We hope you liked the result and for this methodology to be helpful on your next project.

By the way, remembber to follow us at Dribbble to see our latest projects and the things we are working on.

Thanks for reading!

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