At Dropbox, we’ve found that metaphors are a powerful tool to help people explore and share their experiences in more creative and meaningful ways.
We use metaphors in research so people can talk about their experiences through a different lens. We can do this simply by inviting people to make a comparison through a single question. Or we can facilitate entire interviews by using tools to symbolize and explore meaning together.
In brief, it consists of 6 participants supervised by a moderator who are required to write down 3 ideas on a specific worksheet within 5 minutes, this is also the etymology of the methodology's name. The outcome after 6 rounds, during which participants swap their worksheets passing them on to the team member sitting at their right, is 108 ideas generated in 30 minutes.
Here’s one way to deal with things : show them a clip from the film Apollo 13. Specifically, the bit where the crew on board the lunar module are facing imminent suffocation due to a faulty air filter, so the scientists on the ground are forced to make a ‘square peg fit a round hole’ with whatever is available to the astronauts.
I showed the clip to one client team I was working with, who were all blockers and no action.
Before watching the clip the team was fatalistically resigned to business as usual. They didn’t like it, but they accepted it. Business as usual was a six month requirement gathering phase leading to a £1.5m bet on an unproven concept.
After watching the clip, they built a working proof of concept within two hours, a fully fledged beta test within 6 weeks and ended up with an award-winning product that delights customers and is incredibly valuable to the business.