News Headlines aka Cover Story

From idea to essential product features and outcomes
Contributed by

Val Yonchev

Published November 08, 2018

What Is News Headlines aka Cover Story?

This Design Thinking practice intends to suspend disbelief, doubts and imminent focus on the daunting task at hand (design of a new product or service). It is forcing participants to start with the end in mind by imagining a distant future in which the product/service has been super successful and provoked the admiration of the public.

The participants start by listing a set of headlines and draft a popular magazine article outlining the success of the product/service and the organization. The magazine article would naturally go in details of the most important user benefits, i.e. why customers love it, beloved features, examples of use cases and may include images, customer quotes and other elements to make the story rich.

This practice frequently precedes other which require creativity.

The group is encouraged to picture and draw even their wildest ideas.

Why Do News Headlines aka Cover Story?

  • Helps translate vision into a set of characteristics to describe how it would feel and look when achieved
  • It allows to easily articulate the product/service goal
  • Allows the team to think big without the constraints of the present and the context they are in or where they are coming from
  • Serves as a stepping stone to Value Proposition or Lean Canvas by articulating some of the most important use cases, features and benefits.
  • It allows you to gradually move the focus from the features to the benefits (outcomes)
  • Provides really good input for the goal to be used in Impact Mapping

This practice is really helpful if you find it hard to articulate the goal during an Impact Mapping session. It can help articulate product vision and ambitions.

It is also a good transition from a vision into a more concrete description of expected product/service design, e.g. through Event Storming.

It can provide interesting input for Value Proposition and Lean Canvas.

How to do News Headlines aka Cover Story?

  1. Explain the object of the game to the players and define each category on the template:

    • “Cover” tells the BIG story of their success.
    • “Headlines” convey the substance of the cover story.
    • “Sidebars” reveal interesting facets of the cover story.
    • “Quotes” can be from anyone as long as they’re related to the story.
    • “Brainstorm” is for documenting initial ideas for the cover story.
    • “Images” are for supporting the content with illustrations.
  2. Break the players into groups of 4-6 and make sure there are markers and one template for each group. Tell the players that to populate the template they can either select a scribe or write and draw on it together.

  3. Ask the players to imagine the best-case scenario for their company and to take that scenario one step further. Request that they spend five quiet minutes imagining their own stories before they work together to agree on one. Give the groups 30–45 minutes to generate this “story of the year” and represent it on their template.

  4. Reconvene the breakout groups and ask for volunteers to present their visions first. Give each group 5–10 minutes to share what they imagined was written in the story and the supporting elements.

  5. Note any common vision themes and areas of agreement. Ask for observations, insights, and concerns about the future state.

Look at News Headlines aka Cover Story

Links we love

Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the News Headlines aka Cover Story practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.

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