Yesterday the team got together to workshop how we move into the next phase of our project. Up until now we have mainly been in Discovery/Alpha mode, exploring the problem space and sketching out potential solutions. As we move to beta we’re onboarding devs into the team and so it was worth us think about our ways of working an how we communicate effectively between design/research and dev.

At the beginning of the day I tried out a new icebreaker for the team. There’s a long standing tradition in digital gov teams to have a mission patch at the end of a phase, its a nice way to build a team identity and celebrate success, given we had just finished alpha we were all keen to get a sticker created. This is what we did…

  1. Everyone in the team sketches out their idea for a sticker on a piece of paper.
  2. Everyone shows their design to everyone else.
  3. Each person now has to describe their design into the chat prompt of Midjourney.
  4. Much discussion and hilarity about the results.
  5. Pick the favourite sticker!

The icebreaker took about 20 minutes but not everyone got to input their stickers unfortunately.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. It was a really nice way to reinforce team identity, there were common themes that emerged in each of the designs. For example, our team prefixes any big new finding in slack with BEHOLD! at the beginning of the message, this appeared in nearly all of the sticker designs.
  2. Midjourney free tier isn’t really up to the task, luckily I had tried it out the night before. It was constantly overloaded due to demand. The basic tier was fine and costs £10 per month on a monthly subscription
  3. It was a nice way of highlighting the challenge of communicating visual ideas in a descriptive way.
  4. The team enjoyed seeing the results and discussing the differences and similarities between their ideas and the AI output.
  5. Midjourney really struggles with words, but the unexpected surprises in the outputs generated the most discussion and delight.

The icebreaker was a useful way to think about how we communicate and get across our ideas and how the results can sometimes not be what was expected. Below are some of the prompts and the outputs from Midjourney…

a circle with the heading ‘behold’ at the top. In the center there is a group of people having a conversation, surrounded by arrows going clockwise but colourful and happy A coloutful round image made up of lots of shapes with lots of people scattered around it, int he centre is the word Dedllod which is midjourney’s attempt at behold

A colourful round image, this one is made up of shapes around the rim and the people are smaller and more numerous, in the centre is the word Bedod

a circle split into 3 the first third contains the raised hands emoji with the word ‘behold’ the second third contains a peeled banana skin that is dizzy. The third third contains a venn diagram A round image spit into 5 sections each containing a banana, one of the bananas looks like an orange segment, the other bananas also look a bit like a slice of melon, but yellow. At the bottom is the words SELD B OULD

sticker with the word behold in the centre, surrounded by disco lights A mishapen circle with BOLD written and inlaid with coloured lights, behind the word are lines of sunburst, there are other nonsensical words at the top and bottom.