I’ve known about XPLANE for several years, and long been interested in the models they work with in their consulting practice. Attending VTS was a great way to learn more about them, and to gain some exposure to new techniques for creative idea generation. What impressed me most about the workshop was the hands-on approach XPLANE uses, and the way their models can lead to productive collaboration and surprising outcomes – even working with partners I’d just met.

I have a PhD in marketing and use several techniques similar to those introduced at VTS, primarily when conducting workshops and seminars. The process of sensemaking among consumers and organizations is a topic I’ve researched extensively over the past decade, and I was curious to see how XPLANE applies the sensemaking construct in their client work.

The most valuable component of the VTS workshop for me was the discussion led by Matt Morasky at the session’s conclusion. We began by examining the projects each small team had created over the previous 30 minutes, discussing how each project’s material affected the viewer’s sensemaking experience, then moved on to higher-level constructs that helped clarify the creative outcome. Connecting abstract meaning to strategy creation is one of the most difficult tasks in any collaborative creative process, and this discussion made the connection vivid and clear.
Melea Press, PhD is a Visiting Research Scholar/Professor of Marketing at the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland. She lives in Portland, OR where she consults on market research, strategy, and academic-practitioner collaboration.