Report about the CreaRE 2018 Workshop

Here, now my report about the CreaRE 2018 workshop. The workshop had 14 participants.
In the previous workshops, the interactive sessions got the best feedback. The participants liked to discuss, try out new methods and exchange experiences. Therefore, this time, we modified the workshop concept: Instead of a workshop with many scientific presentations and few interactive sessions, the program was a key note presentation, six mini tutorials and a World Café session with two rounds.

Key note presentation:
Kurt Schneider (Leibniz University Hannover, Germany) interactively with the participants discussed: "What kind of creativity do software engineers need for vision videos?" He presented three vision videos about the same product, made by his students in a requirements engineering project. These made visible the difference between a mock-up presentation, a use case or a business case video.
In a quick survey, he asked us what we think is needed for a vision video: expensive equipment, technical video skills, creativity, storytelling or elicitation skills.
Finally, according to his experiences, simple equipment is sufficient, and low-cost software tools exist. However, beginners tend to make really bad errors when making a video, for instance with respect to the light. Creativity is a catalyst for the process, but solid requirements engineering techniques are important, too.

Luisa Mich (University of Trento, Italy): Requirements elicitation as a creative process based on a multi-view-technique
Luisa Mich presented an overview on the EPMCreate creativity technique. Its principle is to define the views of two groups of stakeholders and their combinations: What requirements does stakeholder 1 have? Which are the requirements of both stakeholders 1 and 2? Or of stakeholder 2, but not stakeholder 1? Or none of them? Finally, there are 16 possible combinations of these viewpoints. So, the full-fledged version of EPMCreate means to execute 16 steps. However, Luisa's diverse experiments show that four steps can get as many results as 16 steps. The minimum version of the method means to cover at least three areas: stakeholder 1, stakeholder 2 and the rest of the world.

Ralf Laue (Hochschule Zwickau, Germany): TRIZ, personas and goal models
This mini-tutorial started from the question: "How to identify process optimization potential?" Process models and matrices are the classic tools for doing so, but this is not creative! Innovative ideas might not be found, and one might miss the fact that this process is not necessary at all. A way to trigger creativity is to design a touch point map, to discuss goals and the "ideal final result". The discussion of the goals defines what tasks are really needed. What does not serve the goals, might be superfluous. The discussion about the ideal final result leads to the definition of touch points, i.e. those points in the process where the customer gets into contact with the process. The creative process now is to discuss where the process might deviate how from the ideal. In the workshop, we did this jointly by adding stickers to the corresponding touch points. These stickers were prepared and different symbols stood for different types of difficulties, e.g. technical ones.

Daniel M. Berry (University of Waterloo, Canada): Using Grounded Analysis to identify requirements
Grounded Analysis is a technique which scientists use to analyze text from different sources in different forms, in order to create a theory (Grounded Theory) from it. Daniel Berry proposed to use Grounded Analysis for requirements engineering, too. He presented an example application where he applied it to identify user categories, because those proposed by Westin did not serve the present purpose. Grounded Analysis is a systematic way to do so, following well-defined steps. These steps are executed interactively. Grounded Analysis also defines criteria when to stop interviewing, stakeholder identification and the analysis. From these user categories, personas could easily be created.

Meira Levy (Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, Ramat-Gan, Israel): Design Thinking: Identifying End-Users Needs and Requirements
Design Thinking can be used to solve wicked problems, i.e. such problems which are complex and not well-defined. The technique can help to get from the problem space to the solution space. It follows the phases: understand -> create -> deliver. In terms of tools, it uses the customer journey map and empathy map. Time pressure is used as part of the concept. Nevertheless, we could not execute a complete Design Thinking workshop in 45 minutes. Instead, we applied a few representative steps out of the complete technique.
  1. The first step was to identify most frustrating experiences and the persona experiencing it, here applied to the visit of a conference.
  2. In the second step, we imagined what this person would say or how behave in this situation, and also what (s)he would think and feel. These were presented in an Empathy Map.
  3. In pairs, we discussed our ideas and chose the one we liked most. This one we then noted on a blackboard and explained it to the group.
  4. In the break, we voted for the best ideas.
Joerg Doerr (Fraunhofer IESE, Kaiserslautern, Germany): Rapid Innovation Lab RIL
In this session, we also executed single steps out of a larger process, which normally takes place in the Rapid Innovation Lab in Kaiserslautern. The RIL integrates creativity techniques and prototyping into the product development process.
Our task was to design the prototyping process for a digital extension of a book shelf. Four questions had to be answered on a poster:
  • Why do we do this?
  • What do we want to do?
  • Which tools do we want to use?
  • Whom would we invite to the feedback session?
We were supported in answering each of the questions by stickers proposing possible answers, but we could also come up with new motivations or tools.

The workshop website can be found here.

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