As our world changes, the challenges to business grow. Old ways of thinking are being replaced by open minds and creativity. Design is playing a central role in helping solve problems and drive the future. We invite you to see how design is shaping the new business.

A Zilver Innovation initiative

The interview guide

If you’ve been following this blog, you may have seen a reference to the importance of making an interview guide. If you are looking for a meaningful interview which addresses your interests and doesn’t become and annoying experience for your interviewee, then making a guide is critical. In our case, we made guides specific for each interview, as the industries varied and we wanted to tailor the discussion towards the specifics of the interviewees’ fields of expertise.

The guides we made weren’t a script; rather they were a series of topics that we wanted to address with each of the interviewees. We’ve learned it is important, however, to consider the potential flow of the conversation and what types of questions might be most valuable at a given point. Otherwise, you might find yourself scrambling in the interview to find an appropriate topic to discuss, and that can simply kill the natural flow.

Yet in spite of our basic understanding of interview guides, we definitely had some challenges in making guides that really suited our purposes. No way did we think it would take us so long! 3-4 iterations of each guide added up to a lot of time, especially considering we had 16 interviews. So where did we go wrong?

Well, first off, our team has 8 designers involved…meaning the potential for 8 opinions. A couple of us were responsible for generating the guides, but everyone had say in the outcome. Involving everyone is great from the standpoint of allowing everyone to feel equally involved in the project, but it does slow down the process. We were smart to start working on the guides early.

By working on the guides, one of the things that became apparent is that we all had some different visions for the project. The topic of design and business working together is pretty broad. Going into it, we didn’t have the answers; we were looking for them. As we started diving into the topic, each of us began forming ideas about how to shape the site and the documentary…What would be insightful…What do we want to promote…What is most important?

What this reminded us is that the team needs to keep discussing the project goals…the project vision. We knew going into it that the vision might change with the information we gather. But when you are deep into the ‘working mode’ of the project, it’s easy to lose sight of keeping the team’s vision unified.

But we got over this hurdle, thanks to internal discussions, feedback from initial interviews and some insights from other industry experts. In the end our guides shaped up nicely. We managed to combine some project case studies, touched on design techniques, and most importantly, focused on the relationship of design and business in a range of industries. We asked for insight into how design is shaping business, and what designers can learn from the needs of business…all in the hopes of forging a stronger relationship. As the film takes shape, we hope you gain as much from the experience as we are!



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