Course Description

1-Day High-Energy Narrative Prototyping Course

(English spoken) This hands-on, 1-Day High-Energy Narrative Prototyping course, will give you the tools to turn service and experience concepts into detailed narratives that drive effective strategy and design. The exercises center on Narrative Prototyping, a unique “story-first” approach to a design strategy that leverages the tools of storytelling to drastically reduce wasted time and effort during planning and prototyping.

You’ll learn the fundamentals of narrative structure from two veteran design writers and strategists. You’ll also learn to distinguish between brand, project, and user stories, and know when to use each. We’ll dissect several sample design stories, learning how they can be used to synthesize existing research findings and design concepts, and give shape to a more coherent, meaningful design solution.

Finally, you’ll craft your own Narrative Prototype, drawing on your own professional design challenges, resulting in a written artifact that can be taken back to your office or studio to align and direct the next strategic steps.

If you often find yourself struggling to visualize complex, multi-touchpoint user experiences, or get large, varied project teams aligned, this course will add a powerful new tool to your design thinking toolbox.

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Part 1: Stories as a Strategic Tool
Overview of the Narrative Prototyping approach, including discussion and analysis of several real-world examples. Explanation of different story types, elements of strong narrative, and the psychological underpinnings of the human preference for narrative as a communication format.

Part 2: Collaborative Storytelling and the Narrative Arc
Class and small-group exercises covering the mechanics of narrative and the collaborative writing process. Practice building stories to incorporate external details, and iterating in response to feedback.

Part 3: Creating Your Own Narrative Prototype
Individual or small-group exercises, designed to clarify challenges and context that will form the basis, unique to your needs. These stories will be reviewed by peers and facilitators, allowing for iterations that improve the final outcome and give a template for future revision in a creative team environment.

Part 4: Using Narrative to Align Design Efforts
The last segment of the course focuses on using your Narrative Prototype to produce other useful artifacts, including Journey Maps, Service Blueprints, storyboards, visual and/or interactive prototypes, and UX and marketing copy.


Carl Alviani and Victoria Kirk-Owal are co-founders of Protagonist Studio, a design strategy consultancy that is pioneering the use of storytelling as a strategic tool. For more background, the Protagonist Studio blog on Medium features a number of articles we’ve written on narrative, design strategy, and user experience.

Carl Alviani, Narrative Lead

Carl specializes in telling stories about the process, artifacts, and consequences of design. He’s helped dozens of companies and agencies improve their design outcomes through research-based narrative, and his writing has appeared in WIRED, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Gizmodo, and Forbes, on topics ranging from service innovation to urban planning and the ethics of interaction design – anywhere creative decisions affect the human experience. He spent five years shaping content, marketing, and UX strategy for Ziba Design; before that, he edited and wrote at Core77 and Coroflot, two of the world’s longest-running design websites.

Previously a 3D CAD designer, high school science teacher, and Peace Corps Volunteer in East Africa, Carl holds a BS in Structural Engineering from UC San Diego and a Master of Industrial Design from the Pratt Institute.

Victoria Kirk-Owal, Strategy Lead

Victoria has over 15 years of experience helping businesses profit from a change at some of the world’s most successful creative agencies. She’s led strategic and creative development on products, service design, and integrated brand experience programs for a host of international businesses, including Unilever, Lenovo, Barclay’s, Kellogg’s, and Bupa, as well as non-profits and social enterprises. Her training in product design gives her a knack for making things that function well, delight consumers, and make business sense.

Before co-founding Protagonist, she was Strategy Director at Isobar (Dentsu Aegis), and prior to that spent 6 years with the Ogilvy Group in Director and team leadership roles, including a secondment to Ogilvy in Bangalore to build a strategic planning capability. Victoria holds a Masters in Industrial Design from the Pratt Institute, and has lived and worked in the US, Asia, and Europe.

This video gives you a glimpse of our Design Thinking trainings with global companies:

We can also offer you a tailor-made coaching program designed around your specific team objectives to guide you through the DT process.

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