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Improv as Agile Technique at XP Days Benelux

Published on February 26, 2013 by in Demos

Here is a nice video from running my tutorial at XP dyas in Benelux. The attendees are all Agile gurus, so I was happy to see that they really loved it, and that they were good at it. Indeed, as far as I claim that this is a good metaphor to agile design, if agile gurus were not good at it, we would either have fake gurus either a wrong metaphor, indeed. Well, here is a nice little video shot by a participant during an improv dedicated to the (now famous) car-sharing example. At around 80 seconds you see them inventing a brilliant security feature for such systems: use the camera of your phone to check that the people who will pick you up are somehow safe. After two or three years using this example, I never had that idea, and they just invented this in a brilliant improvisation after no more than 60 minutes

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Improv in the news

I’ve been recently interviewed by Brigitte Doucet from Regional IT, who wrote a comprehensive and understandable article about how to use improv in the real world. This is in French only, sorry for the non-speakers… You can find the article here…

 
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From Creative Wallonia to Sustainable World

Creative Wallonia’s “Creativity Week” showed that much more energy than expected is available in Wallonia to create. I’m starting to dream: could we use this energy, and new technologies, to invent a way of living where we would not need to fight each others or ruin our planet’s eco-systems? Creativity is about challenging assumptions. So can we challenge the current socio-economic system as a whole? Signs shows a revolution might be underway, but the current way of thinking will resist strongly. In the end, do we have a choice? I was recently amazed by a sudden increase in dynamics in the area of creativity in my region, Wallonia. It seemed to me that the eco-system was slowly growing under the hood, at least in the digital sector for what I know, and is now arriving at some point where it emerges to the public. Boldly. In particular, a visible agency, with a clear branding policy,

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Batteries and Smart Grids: Why and How ?

I recently was the happy co-promoter of a Master’s thesis on the use of storage in smart grids, together with Jean-Charles Jacquemin. Frederic Gilson did an excellent job in motivating and showing the economical feasibility of various scenarios for introducing storage in smart grids. And, more importantly for me, he made a preliminary design of a storage management system, writing an initial bluenprint for such a system. If you are interested, I can send you a copy. This was a new experience of writing requirements in this complex context, and I hope we will be able to draw some conclusions to present to RE4SuSy at REFSQ’13. But hey, first, we have to re-submit RE4SuSy…

 
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What means “creativity”: funny video from REFSQ’12

Published on September 7, 2012 by in My papers

I realized I never posted this nice little video. I used it as an intro to my presentation of the paper about the different meanings of creativity in requirements engineering (see this post). Probably nothing intelligent but some fun to hook up people for the presentation. The presentation itself was a roleplay, where I pretended to be a requirements engineer, interviewing my client (Alistair Mavin, co-author) to understand what kind of creativity would apply to our new project… I was taking notes, as in a real interview, and these were filmed and projected on the big screen so people could see how I use the framework to understand creativity. It seems that the message did not always passed that well, as someone asked us “OK, but what have you done creatively here?”. Answering “Well, nothing, we just showed how to understand what creativity meant in the client’s context” did not really convince him… The risk

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Improv for designing user experience… towards a proof?

Published on August 10, 2012 by in Demos

I’ve been interested since a while in designing mobile car-sharing systems. Use your mobile phone to smartly arrange someone to pick you up in point A and get you in point B. Over 2 years, I’ve had 8 teams of 5 students (Master 1 and 2) thinking about this. And they showed creativity, I was proud of what they did. I used  improv’ with them, but only as team building in the beginning of the course cycle. Recently, in CAISE’12 and during a course on “Privacy By Design” in Leuven University, I was given 90 minutes to help some teams come up with ideas for such a system. Those teams had never met before, never worked together, certainly not on the system under consideration. I thought they would never come close to what my students did in many hours of brainstorming… But anyway I had them do some improv’ exercises, then really improvise. The trick

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Improv to invent and represent scenarios for Requirements: Video

Published on April 4, 2012 by in Demos, My papers

During the 2ndInternational Workshop on Creativity in Requirements Engineering (CREARE’12, Essen, Germany), we showcased how improv can be used as an experience-based design technique. Better than words, the video: In the related paper we present the expected strengths of using improv as a design technique in RE: Improv supports collaborative creativity: improv as we use it can be seen as mechanism to create novel, unexpected stories from diverging raw material, and adapts well to stakeholders groups. Interaction between players, and between the audience and the players, is key to improv. Improv is quick and cheap: given the cost of N people locked in a meeting room, improv’s immediacy makes it a very cheap tool compared to other slower techniques. Improv is flexible: the lack of fixed recording media makes it for a total flexibility, while video recording and a-posteriori editing remains possible. Improv is intuition-based: improv taps into your intuition to build stories. This neglected

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Requirements for Sustainable Systems Workshop (RE4SuSy)

Published on March 16, 2012 by in My papers

REFSQ’12 conference (Essen, Germany) will host the first edition of the RE4SuSy workshop, focusing on Requirements Engineering for Sustainable Systems. It is jointly organized by Birgit Penzenstadler, Camille Salinesi and myself. I had the chance to be an author in 3 papers that will be presented there. In the first, we argue that Sustainable Systems is a complex topic, more complex that we might want to see at first sight. While existing simplifying frameworks are useful, we have to work more to integrate this complexity into our projects, not hide it under sometimes over-simplifying diagrams. The second highlight the requirements work that remains to be done around electromobility (electric-cars) and the smart grid that will manage the distribution of electricity in a near future. IT is at the heart of this new infrastructure, and while technology is nearly ready, there remain a lot of unanswered questions concerning the requirements of these systems. Finally we present

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Improv as agile design technique @ CAISE 2012

Published on March 16, 2012 by in Demos

A new variant of the improv’ tutorial has been accepted, this time at CAISE, Gdansk, this summer 2012. This is a “Rank A” conference, the definite top in Information Systems… Through actually playing improvisational theatre games in groups, participants will be given the chance to feel what it takes to innovate in teams, and will experiment with a technique that enables rapid scenario generation, producing real-time creative experience-centered prototypes. This time we will focus on the creative design session. After warming-up exercises, we will pretend that we are a group of stakeholders (including problem owners, developers, experts) willing to invent a new software product. We will use guided improvisations as an experience-based technique, inventing user stories on the fly, and commenting them in order to determine what our product should or should not do. So, while some play out scenarios they invent on the fly guided by the improv’ coach, others watch and comment, take

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Improv as Mini-Tutorial @ RCIS’12

Published on February 10, 2012 by in Demos, slider

Creativity and Collaboration are recognized as important challenges by the Information Systems community. And Improvisation is seen as a state-of-the-art potential solution. How can I tell ? Well, our mini-tutorial, “Improvisational Theater for Information Systems: Breathing Collaboration and Creativity into your Developments” has been invited at RCIS’12, the 6th international conference on Research Challenges in Information Science, to be held in May, in Valencia, Spain. This time it’s closer than RE’10, in Sydney (see post). The outline of the tutorial illustrates what can be done in 90 minutes, the real minimum for a discovery of what improv can do for creativity and collaboration in development teams. Outline of the tutorial 1) Introduction (10’): We first briefly define creativity, motivate the need for it, and then expose some theoretical bases that establish the link between improv and creativity. 2) Awareness exercise (10’): This first exercise will raise group awareness and open people’s mind for the remainder

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