WhodunitsEverybody is familiar with 'whodunit' mysteries like *Columbo*, crime dramas like *Law & Order*, or even a cartoon like *Scooby-Doo*. It's a simple formula that starts with a crime and builds suspense by following our heroes as they piece together clues until the perpetrator is revealed in the story's climax. Not knowing *who* is what keeps us engaged. It's a great storytelling device that maps well to the up front research phases of a design project where we poke around asking lots of questions, but it's the opposite of what we often want when presenting those ideas.
Scene from the trailer for Dial 'M' for Murder by Alfred Hitchcock.The 'howcatchem' turns the detective story on its head by first revealing not only the murder, but the *identity of the murderer* and the entire cast of characters. The joy is in watching the characters fill in the blanks to explain why and *how*. Will the murderer get away with it? Can our heroes notice the right clues and solve the mystery? The [howcatchem format] maps to the way real crime investigations are conducted out in the wild. It's also a good example of the way we present our design 'detective work.'
Conclusion First at ZURB
A storyboard sketch of a client pitch.This storyboard sketch shows us working through how we lead with the conclusion in a client pitch. Just like the howcatchem murder mystery, we begin by revealing the cast of characters (what you said and what we found) and deliver the conclusion (e.g. your registration process is driving visitors away and hurting your business) before getting to the details that show how this happened. By cutting-to-the-chase like this everybody at the table can **benefit in three ways**:
- 1. Focuses Us On Our Goal
- Thinking 'conclusion first' forces us to invert the way we solve problems by visualizing the end result before we take that first step. What are we trying to do here? How will it be received? We get to live with our conclusion longer and anticipate our audience's response better.
- 2. Saves Us Both Time
- We avoid beating around the bush because we're prepared to say what we mean right away. This lets us make quick decisions together on clearly stated intentions. Is this idea worth pursuing? If not, we move on to focus on the next one.
- 3. Our Ideas Become More Memorable
- By leading with our conclusion, we give ourselves the chance to reenforce that conclusion with each point throughout the conversation and then restate it again at the end. This repetition helps everybody involved remember what was decided and why.