Madelyn Andree
Nov 14, 2016 · 3 min read

Storytelling has always connected us to our humanity. Today, as consumers increasingly desire authenticity, organizations are placing a renewed importance on the role stories play in communication and decision making. Visual stories, especially, help make ideas more memorable and understandable to a broad audience.

But visual storytelling is difficult — especially with limited illustration skills.

Luckily, SAP is working to fix that. Following the soft launch of “Scenes,” SAP’s new storyboarding toolkit, Karen Detken (Strategic Designer at SAP Design and Co-Innovation Center) and Sarah Fathallah (Senior Design Strategist at SAP Design and Co-Innovation Center) held a hands-on workshop at the Service Design Global Conference in Amsterdam.

Photo by Service Design Network

“Scenes is a storyboarding method and tool intended to help people with any background to create visual stories in a collaborative and iterative way,” explained Detken. “We created it with two main purposes in mind: to leverage the power of storytelling to communicate and understand context, and to lower the barrier that the creation of storyboards often presents to people without refined drawing skills.”

At the workshop, more than 20 participants mixed the various pre-defined illustrations to create storyboards based on real-world scenarios, together. Each team had only 30 minutes to complete a storyboard for a given scenario before presenting their solution to the entire workshop.

“The speed at which a story can be created and changed makes Scenes very useful to get feedback about your ideas and to iterate on them,” added Detken.

To accommodate the variety of settings and methods in which storytellers need to tell their tales, Scenes illustrations are available for print to create a physical toolkit and for digital use. Both versions are free to the public.

“Unlike many storyboarding tools out there that are mostly software, this one can also be physical. You can touch it,” said Fathallah. “It lowers the barrier of participation…. you can get as many hands as you want involved, and it becomes more of a group effort instead of one person’s job to translate ideas onto the storyboard.”

Scenes helps users focus on an idea, and to easily build a story collaboratively, instead of concentrating on drawing. Its customizable characters and fun illustrations make the process even more enjoyable.

“It is interesting to observe every time we use Scenes, how the participation and energy level changes in the room,” said Detken. “We can sense certain skepticism at the beginning sometimes, but as soon as people start building their stories, everybody gets engaged in the task.”

The workshop helped reinforce the valuable 3D nature of Scenes, which helps users focus on a situation as a whole, rather than on 2D screens and applications. Scenes helps visualize the big picture in a tangible way.

“We wanted to hear feedback on whether or not this is something they could see themselves using,” said Fathallah. “I think we got a good sense that people are excited about using this.”

Photo by Service Design Network

Since Scenes eliminates the need to illustrate, SAP hopes more people will be inspired to storyboard. It lends an exciting way for anyone to tell stories more collaboratively and effectively, and to co-create with clients who may not have storyboarding experience. The SAP team even plans to expand upon Scenes by launching more illustrations (stay tuned next week!).

Download your own Scenes toolkit here, and tell us how you used it!

Find more information about Scenes here:

“Scenes: A New Method and Tool to Create Storyboards”

“Scenes Honored as Runner Up in the Core 77 Design Awards 2016”

SAP Design

We make work delightful through a human-centered design approach. SAP privacy statement for followers: www.sap.com/sps

Madelyn Andree

Written by

Professional dancer and communicator. Former SF resident, forever Bay Area lover. Proud @uiowa and @AmerDanceFest alumna. St. Louis, MO.

SAP Design

We make work delightful through a human-centered design approach. SAP privacy statement for followers: www.sap.com/sps

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