Goal Directed Visual Context Scenarios

The method of "Goal Directed Visual Context Scenarios" for innovation management is derived from the Goal Directed Design Process and blended with Requirements Engineering techniques. In Goal Directed Design user goals inform or direct all design decisions regarding a future product, service or process. A goal is a final purpose or aim, an objective driven by a need. Future users with their needs, goals and their motivation are described with the use of "personas". Personas are not real people, but they represent them throughout the design process. They are hypothetical archetypes of actual or possible users. Although they are imaginary, they are defined with significant rigor and precision.


  • Duration
    Long (more than 1 hour)
  • Complexity
  • Group size
    3 to 8 persons

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Description Long

Typically, users have to perform tasks in order to accomplish a goal. Since there may be multiple ways of achieving a goal, the set of tasks may vary broadly. A goal directed context scenario is a textual description of a persona's interaction with the future product, service or process. Each scenario begins with a specific situation, then describes the interaction between the persona and system from the beginning of a task or session through its completion. A scenario describes the actions of the persona and any behavior or actions of the product, service or process evident to that persona. Along the way, a good scenario explains the persona's motivation and emotions for particular behavior and indicates what persona goals the system's behavior achieves. In the early phase of the design process, the so-called context scenarios are high level and optimistic, focusing on ideal system behavior in situations that will happen. Context scenarios do not include specific solutions. Rather, they describe an entire session or typical task based on what the persona would see as the task's beginning and end. This could involve a single function or several dozen. Goal Directed Visual Context Scenarios put all these things together and tells the story of a scenario by visual means. This can be done by taking photos of contextual information or of some specific situations in the task flow. It also can be done by sketching specific conditions by hand. Narrative annotations can also be done with post-its. In Innovation Management, one of the most challenging parts is to select and drive these ideas, which have the potential to be implemented into a valuable, usable and feasible product, service or process and thus, marketable. We propose to apply the method "Goal Directed Visual Context Scenarios" in the early visioning phase for the evaluation, shaping, refinement and redefinition of ideas. For this, the method allows three degrees of freedom to play with: The context in which the innovation is reasonable and will be successful. The persona, the target user, for whom the innovation will be valuable and usable. The goal to accomplish meets a certain need of the persona.




    1. Gather the workshop participants and split them into teams of 3-8 members.
    2. Divide the pool of ideas into 2-3 ideas for each team. One idea is processed, the remaining are for backup (Duration: 5 min)
    3. Each team runs a workshop to work out scenarios for each idea (Duration: 70 min per idea)
    4. First, the skeleton of one scenario is created: (Duration 25 min)
    5. Intended users, their goals and the general context are identified
    6. Second, the user goals are functionally decomposed into tasks to achieve them. The tasks are written down on post-its and pinned to the bulletin board in the right sequence
    7. Step a and b are iterated, such that goal, persona and scenario, result in a meaningful sequence. This skeleton-scenario must show, if the idea has the potential to result in a valuable, usable and feasible product, service or process. If this is not the case, the idea is skipped and the next one is chosen.
    8. If the skeleton is fine, adequate visuals for the persona and the context information of each task are created by hand drawings, by researching on the Internet or by taking pictures. These pictures are pinned around the tasks. (Duration: 10 min)
    9. The scenarios are fully walked through and the underlying idea is judged on this basis: (Duration: 10 min)
    10. Do the goal, persona and scenario still result in a meaningful sequence?
    11. Are there any possibilities to achieve the goal easier? E.g. by skipping steps or tasks or by assuming other solutions?
    12. Does the solution fit to the persona as well as to the context?
    13. The resulting scenarios are explained to and discussed in a plenum. (Duration: 10 min)

    Tools list

    • Sticky notes
    • Paper and pencil
    • Writing utensils, pen, pencil
    • Head push pins
    • Bulletin board
    • Computer/Laptop
    • Internet access
    • Printer
    • Photo camera





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