Find the Sandwich

Sandra was making a sandwich when she stopped to sign her divorce papers.

Find the interesting thing in the statement above.

Sandra was making a sandwich when she stopped to sign her divorce papers.

Divorce papers are not the interesting thing. They are the important thing.

Sandra was making a sandwich when she stopped to sign her divorce papers.

Stopping is the action Sandra does, shifting context to do the important thing.

Sandra was making a sandwich when she stopped to sign her divorce papers.

Making a sandwich. Now that is interesting. What kind of sandwich was Sandra making? Was it lunch, dinner, or just a snack? Normally when you make a sandwich you pack it or eat it immediately. This sandwich never was completed, and was never packed nor eaten. So what happened to it?

Did Sandra wash her hands before signing the paperwork? What happened that prompted this interruption?

When exploring improvisation and product design we want to find the sandwich. The important thing isn’t always funny or dramatic. But the intersting thing often is. Similarly, in product design the important thing may be completing a task or transaction. But the interesting thing is what prompted that transaction.

With financial software, what prompted the desire to make a trade?

With medical software, what was the patient doing before symptons arose?

Look for the sandwich.

Special thanks to Ralph Andracchio for introducing me to the vocabulary to look for the sandwich.

October 21, 2019 Update: Added some additional notes around interruption and washing hands.

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