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October 25, 2015

Sceenius Method Cards

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At Sceenius, we’ve been into method cards for a long time. In fact, we took method cards to the very first expeditions up Sagarmatha. John Kellden has been using method cards for decades in his own practice. We know method cards. That’s why we’re proud to announce a new way to use cards at Sceenius: embedding them as a cognitive feedback loop.

Let’s revisit the purpose of these cards. As a simple definition, method cards are triggers to perform a desired action. They provide a scaffolding to cross through or simply explore unknown domains. IDEO is using cards to trigger new ways to learn, look, ask or try things. Brian Eno is using his Oblique Strategies Cards to break a deadlock or dilemma situation. In a way, cards have the potential to generate Strange Attractors, invisible lines along which teams are able to align themselves and reach higher plateaus of sensemaking (see also Dynamic Narrative Alignment).

The typical way to use cards is to “draw” them in a specific sequence or randomly and place them on a table or  board. The board can be anything from a simple 2×2 grid to a complex Venn diagram. But what if we use a graph as a board? And what better graph do we have than the nodes (story points) of a Knowledge Expedition (KE)? Now, as you traverse the graph, use them as a way to create a cognitive feedback loop. Instead of drawing a card and then using the idea to formulate a response, we use cards after we confirmed a certain action or response has occurred. This is close to what Dave Pollard has written about in his concept of The Meeting Map. But let’s take this a step further.

Let’s say the team performed a collaborative exercise and successfully crossed a deep crevasse at Khumbu Ice Fall. At this point, the level of trust among the team members will have increased significantly. Now we add a method card for “trust” for this story point and assign a value to it, say 5 points. Clicking on the card reveals more details (why and how the new level of trust was established) and aggregating all points leads to an overall score for team performance.

We are experimenting with different decks of cards now. Our first deck has been the Starter Deck used for a classic method card session. Our first set that supports the cognitive feedback loop is called the Field Deck and is available to participants of future KEs. You can sign up for a demo excursion here.