The ideation workshop went better than expected. Though we started late, and not all the stakeholders we wanted present were there, the people that were in the room shared a bond and came away with new friendships and a mutual respect based on this shared experience.
In terms of the scene I'd wanted to craft. I intended to have the a mix of people role play the customer accessing a service, and the stakeholders providing the service. I played with a number of scenarios in my head, and on paper, and there ended up being way too many variables I couldn't account for. One of the main challenges again was language. At the 11th hour, we decided to create two scenarios and split the room into 4 groups.
Each facilitator had an empathy map to walk a table through, and it turned into a mini a/b experiment. I instructed one group to take a few minutes to think through steps 1 through 6 and quietly write their thoughts on post-it notes. Once they completed their notes, they went up to the empathy canvas, stuck their post-its, and talked their team mates through their thoughts.
Once all the info about the persona was on the canvas, they couldn't clarify gains or pains, and once instructed to tell that persona's story, they defualted to talking through the process the persona would go through when accessing the service. We course corrected by having them vocalize a person's thoughts and feelings when facing each process step.
For the other group, I assigned each person one of the aspects of the persona to empathize with. As they shared the aspect they were responsible for, they created stories and sought to connect and build on each other's story. They then worked through the pains and gains together and created the larger story.
The groups on the other side of the room had one stellar performance that demonstrated clearly how to empathize. One of the comments heard was "Is this your story? You have us almost in tears"
That is how we started the day, with these stories shared, the room aligned on what the personas need and how they feel and behave. This set the stage for the day of ideation.
Because of the last minute shift from roleplay to empathy map, we defaulted to the existing canvas, I think it'd be worthwhile to use the canvas adapted by Paul Boag. The questions are much more relatable.