Bodystorming in Chicago – A Design Thinking Stance

Last night we did a bodystorming in Chicago. We had a great group of people who came to do bodystorming and they enjoyed it. They were a mix of designers, engineers/Computer scientists, and actors. One of the most interesting comments of the evening was by Byron Stewart of Dramatic Diversity , my theater partner in this, who commented about half-way through the exercise to me that he had initially thought some of the engineering and computer science people were actors because they were getting into it so well.

That speaks to the importance of structuring an environment and activities. Everything about the evening was positioned and arranged to encourage people to bodystorm. We weren’t just telling people “Ok, now bodystorm.” Even though this is similar to improv and as such seems not to be scripted there is a lot of preparation and planning involved.

Roger Martin writes about “stance . . . the knowledge domain in which you define how you see the world around you and how you see yourself in that world.” In last nights bodystorming we put people into a different stance and it resulted in encouraging exploration and innovation in how people saw and approached the design problem. As Martin also writes “The design thinker has a stance that seeks the unknown, embraces the possibility of surprise, and is comfortable with wading into complexity not knowing what is on the other side.”

I enjoy very much how Martin writes about design thinking and believe that bodystorming like this are one of the few ways to cultivate this kind of stance for people.


Roger Martin in “The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage.” 2009
Issue Boards (Another Technique for Design Thinking)

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