Along with the use of personas, paper prototyping is one of the easiest and most effective tools in the software design, or service design, toolkit. A small amount of effort provides a substantial return in eliciting stakeholder feedback. It also provides valuable context for further discussion. It allows you to prototype quickly and cheaply. I came across the use of Business Origami from Jess McMullin at the Centre for Citizen Experience - a Canadian startup that advances public sector research, strategy, policy and service design.
Business Origami is a paper prototyping method that uses paper cutouts to represent different components of a system such as people, places, objects and value exchange. Originally used by researchers at Hitachi, the technique is excellent for prototyping service design touchpoints . I recently had the opportunity to test drive the technique as part of my participation in the Standford D.School Design Thinking Action Lab. I was quickly able to create a prototype by downloading and cutting out the Business Origami Shapes. The resulting model, had a much greater impact that anything I have ever put together on Visio. Everybody who visited my office was fascinated to know more about it.
For more information about how to use Business Origami and try it yourself please check out the Centre for Citizen Experience website, download a copy of the business origami shapes, and watch Jess McMullin's presentation.