"The Grind" 

When I was first hired at Continuum, after I got done with my first round of interviews, my manager told me to go make some frameworks and models. I was completely freaked out. I thought that models were something you make out of foam core, and I had no idea what frameworks were…I Googled it. And then read a terrible article on Wikipedia before I realized that frameworks and models are just names for “making sense of data.”

When I run analysis workshops with clients, they always start with a disclaimer: “This is going to be hard. This is going to feel like a waste of time. At times it isn’t going to make sense. But if we listen to our users, if we keep their needs, wants, values, and challenges top of mind we can never fail.”

Bob Fee, one of the best professors in the world (in my humble opinion) calls this process “the grind.” He instructs his students to pin up all of the data that they have and to stare at it. Just stare at it. And inevitably it all starts to come together like a scene from Beautiful Mind.

That is why we have project spaces. Every project space I have worked in from my SCAD days at Gulfstream Center, to the bright and comfortable spaces at Continuum, to my home office have the ingredients for success: Pin up space, whiteboard, post it notes, sharpies, plenty of space, inspirational objects, and connection to the outside world.

After every trip to the field we print debrief forms, full size images and important quotes from respondents. What comes next can best be described as magic. We talk, we move data around, we argue, we draw, we talk some more, and eventually we come up with a way to synthesize the data that makes sense.  These are usually frameworks or models. Some models work better in certain situations, and sometimes people favor models. I for example, love hierarchies and could take or leave 2x2’s. The model acts as the scaffolding that holds the project together. It is a way for the team to share a common vernacular while generating ideas. There are a handful of basic models below that can be adapted and stretched to meet your needs. If you have public examples of how and why you used a specific model, by all means send it along. I want this space to act as an inspirational library for everyone who is struggling through “the grind.”



Detials coming soon!