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13

Feb 2020

A brief encounter: Our approach to the perfect brief

Blog posts

Liz Smith

Liz Smith

Lead Solutions Designer at Kineo

A brief starts with the initial spark that ignites the flame of creativity at the beginning of a learning organisations’ engagement with a client. It is the golden thread that runs through every project. 

At Kineo, we constantly revisit the brief to make sure that we are on track, or to respond in an agile way to developments that happen along the way. Getting the brief right is crucial to a successful project.

So how do you create a great brief when working with a learning organisation like Kineo? We’ve learnt a few things – here's our recommended approach to building a robust brief for your project.

Meet the team
Getting the right people involved is crucial, regardless of whether it’s part of the sales process or the outset of a project. A technical person will ask a completely different question to a creative person; but both are equally valid and need to be balanced against the scales of truth to find the right solution. 

Get the brief
Briefs come in all shapes and sizes; via conversations, through tenders or even a sketch on the back of a napkin. Regardless of the format, you’re looking for the fundamental elements that have to be part of the project. Ask insightful questions to get down into the detail and broaden understanding of the challenges ahead.  

Problem statements: discovering the pain points
When looking through a brief, you’re trying to capture the highlights of what your organisation is looking for. Some of the key learning-related words to pick out include, skills, performance gaps, current state vs desired state, barriers to learning etc. Alongside the technology requirements this can then guide ideation around the solution.

Design considerations; find the stories behind the constellations
Before coming up with ideas, it’s important to reflect on your requirements. At this point you might identify potential constraints and ensure there’s consultation between the learning organisation and yourselves to ensure you make the most of their experience and knowledge. An honest conversation helps everyone to see the big picture. It’s also a key stage to define and agree KPIs and start to think about what you want to measure in the learning.
 
Ideation; no idea is a bad idea
At Kineo we love ideas! If you’ve been to our previous talks, caught a webinar, read our blogs, or listened to our podcasts, you’ll know that we love a good design-jam session. Get all kinds of different roles involved from across the business and use a variety of techniques to play around with the full range of solutions. One idea prompts another, and another, and another…

Prototyping; iterate and learn quickly
Once you’ve whittled down the array of ideas to one or two, you need to try out if they work. Prototyping is the easiest way to do this. It allows you to test drive creative concepts and make sure they really work for the learner to help them get to the heart of the content. Paper prototyping can be just as useful as digital tools; fail fast and start again if you need to.

Try it out; band practice is in session
The best musicians and DJs respond to the reactions of the audience, sensing their likes and dislikes and adjusting what they play according. Feedback is a crucial part of creating great content and it’s how the brief continues to evolve as you move through each stage. Eat, sleep, brief, repeat…

Get to an MVP; working as a team for a common goal
This is when the team starts to expand even further, guided by the vision that’s been created in the previous stages. Everyone is working hard on their individual tasks towards a collective goal; the best solution possible which is technically, visually, tonally awesome and hits just the right spot for your learners.

Quality assurance; don’t just take our word for it
Your mechanic doesn’t give you an MOT certificate without checking the car first, and you shouldn’t let any courses go out the door before being thoroughly quality assured. As well as rigorous standards applied by using your learning organisations’ internal testers apply, users can tweak and enhance the MVP. This brings out the next set of features to add to your ever-evolving brief and adds further value.

Implementation; launch it into the real world
By time a course has been delivered, there shouldn’t be any surprises. You’ve shared ideas throughout the process, created prototypes and kept in contact throughout –therefore the delivery should be everything you’ve been waiting for. 

Data analytics; made to measure, designed for impact
The course is up and running and the audience are happily completing it, so your job is done, right? Actually, no.  It’s time to revisit the KPIs you set at the outset and see how the learner is engaging with the content and if there’s been a change in perceived attitudes and behaviour. Collecting and aggregating as much data as we can at this stage leads to insights.

Feedback loop; bring it back, sing it back
Use that data to figure out what’s working and what’s not and enhance the experience for others next time. Your learning journey is never finished – there are always ways you can improve what you deliver.

Liz Smith

Liz Smith

Lead Solutions Designer at Kineo

Liz is a Lead Solutions Designer, working with our solutions consultants to create innovative designs for our proposal offerings. She has worked at Kineo for over six years and has a background in creative writing.