Originally presented at UX Week 2011. Business Origami is a method invented by the Hitachi Design Center. Since I only learned about it over dinner conversation, all method how-to & details have been added by myself and any faults here are my own.
Here's the workshop description:
Business origami is a simple, powerful method for modelling services and systems that you can learn to use quickly and get great results in your own design projects. The simplicity is on the surface. Business origami uses stylized paper cutouts to represent the different parts of a system: the people, the locations, and channels used as well as the specific touchpoints and interactions of individual scenarios. These cutouts are arranged on a horizontal whiteboard, which allows participants to show relationships in the system, including different venues, the flow from one area to another, and the value exchanged at each interaction.
The power comes from participation. Business origami shines in a codesign workshop setting. Since it offers direct, hands-on tokens it’s easy for everyone to contribute instead of requiring skill with diagramming software or flowchart conventions. By involving a cross-section of business representatives, users, and members of the design team you can quickly capture models of current experiences and then explore opportunities for improvement or create entirely new designs. Because the model is immediate and tangible it creates a shared visual reference that builds common understanding, unifying the team and the vision for the project.
This participation increases buy-in, creates common ground, and helps you facilitate a successful solution. The sessions themselves are powerful experiences for participants, but you can also use business origami models to document journey maps, scenarios, service blueprints and other downstream design deliverables.
In this session with Jess McMullin you’ll learn the fundamentals of service design (so we’re on the same page), participate in a modeling exercise yourself for current and future systems, and then analyze that model to document new opportunities. We’ll also share tips and tricks that make for successful business origami sessions and discuss how this method fits neatly into your current design process, whether you’re consciously doing cross-channel design or not.