Given our familiarity with workplaces and the routines of everyday life, we don’t see and reflect on what’s really going on. Focused observation is a powerful tool.
- Think about and decide what environment or context you’d like to spend time observing.
- Take a notebook, pen, and a simple note taking framework of AEIOU (Activities, Environment, Interactions, Objects, and Users).
- Find a place to sit and observe without being in the way. Don’t hide, but don’t impede. Let the people know you’re there to learn, not to evaluate.
- As you observe the action, note what grabs your attention and what raises questions in your mind.
- Sketch out the environment. Make a list of things for a specific category. Count things. What’s interesting?
- Take pictures and record video. Watch the video and pin up pictures. In reviewing, you’ll often see things you didn’t notice the first time.