Happy Monday Uplifting Crew,
This week's chapter is all about storytelling, and I'm sharing an excerpt about the Lloyds Design Storytelling team. It's also an appropriate week to introduce two pieces of kit that I've been using over the past week to help teams tell their own story more powerfully. Check the video above for more on that!
Case Study: Lloyds Design Storytelling
I joined Lloyds Banking Group as their first Chief Design Officer soon after they had announced a £3 billion investment in technology transformation. As I had worked at Google and Microsoft, and had experience designing with modern technologies, I was brought in to help the company modernize and put design at the heart of the transformation. We brought together six separate UX (User Experience) design and research teams that were previously tucked down into various product delivery areas of the organization.
With 350 members in the team, we articulated the first design values and vision for the group (as we discussed in chapter 2), and beyond this team, I was drawn into executive committees, board presentations, and collaboration with the other chief offices to explore how design could transform the company. In one of these conversations I was asked to help shape communications for the newly formed Group Transformation, and I agreed if I could create a proper storytelling team.
So I asked Joanna Rahim, a former BBC Producer, to build the team. We hired documentary film makers, screenwriters, storyboard artists, animators and producers. The team immediately began having an impact by creating internal films and animations that envisioned the goals of Group Transformation and Design.
An early internal film from the Storytelling team.
An early animation about Agile and design.
A motion-graphics piece about the journey towards the design team’s vision of Prosperous Design.
An article by some of our writers about inclusion, diversity and a design view of prosperity.
Beyond the internal communications pieces above, we wanted the art of storytelling to pervade every aspect of our design process. While Agile uses stories as a part of the method, our backlog (a list of items to be worked on) rarely had any real human-centered elements to them. So we took the entire backlog for a three-month period and reimagined it as a graphic novel. The result was an understandable, practical and moving piece that brought our design and technology visions to life in a human way.
Our Agile backlog graphic novel, Guardians of Prosperity.
The style of the graphic novel.
Using data analytics and AI to know when to guide.
Real-time app alerts that were helpful and timely.
Using narrative techniques to take what was usually a dry spreadsheet of features, and turn it into a relatable story was incredibly powerful in reminding the entire team why we were investing £3 billion in technology transformation in the first place. It helped us have richer conversations about detailed features. For example the two previous images tell a story about how to use real-time native app-based messaging (this was the description in the backlog), and have it become a helpful way to nudge and guide our customers to make better financial decisions every day.
The graphic novel being used in a technology planning session.
A storytelling workshop with a partner team.
A deck of custom-made storytelling cards to inspire narrative thinking.
As the work of the Storytelling team progressed, there were more and more requests to engage with groups in deeper ways. So in addition to creating narrative deliverables, the Storytelling team also started training different groups on how to use the power of narrative in their area. They developed Storytelling Workshops, our own set of Storytelling Cards, and other tools to help remind the company that its mission of Helping Britain Prosper was dependent on us all first imagining a more meaningful story of how the future could be.