One practice that I’ve found effective in getting teams to think about a product vision is the Design-the-Box exercise (developed originally by colleague Bill Shakelford). This exercise is great to open up a session to initiate a project. In this exercise the entire team, including users, breaks up into groups of four to six (this works best with cross-functional participation). The team makes the assumption that the product will be sold in a shrink-wrapped box, and their task is to design the product box front and back. This involves coming up with a product name, a graphic, three to four key bullet points on the front to “sell” the product, a detailed feature description on the back, and operating requirements.
It’s an exercise we need to do with Emergic.