Fewer Red Boxes
John Borden | March 6, 2018
This is going to be a quick update, but a significant one. You all remember what Tokens are, right? They’re round, kinda look a bit like board game pieces, and you put them on your Canvases to represent different key ideas that relate to your business or organization.
Well, in a nutshell, fewer Tokens are looking like this when you zoom into them…
And more like this…
Without context they look a little bit “abstract” I will admit, but for those of you using Business Toybox, you’ll find they look familiar. They’re basically 3D copies of the 2D icons used to represent different Tokens on your Canvases.
It’s been a major development goal for Business Toybox since, well, the beginning. To not only design better business models, but to play with them. That entails a lot of things, some of which I’ve shared with you, and some which are still to come in the following days. One of the biggest goals, however, was to take this process of designing business models and move it away from the drudgery of writing up dreary documents and placing sticky-notes aimlessly. I want it to feel like you’re taking ideas and concepts and actually playing with them.
The design of the tokens was heavily inspired by that goal. They’re designed to feel like pieces on a board game, or parts of a tiny model world similar to a train set or a Lego city (I actually really like both tiny trains and playing with Legos). This isn’t an aimless pursuit to make Business Toybox look better. This is driven by a very important intent, perhaps even the most important intent. You can use them to model a business idea in order to develop more effective strategies overall, but they’re also designed to encourage your imagination. To make you think what if.
It’s something we need to be thinking about now more than ever. What if. People are polarized by politics. Governments are hamstrung by ideology. The planet is getting hotter. Natural resources are being mismanaged. The divide between rich and poor becomes wider and more extreme. In my eyes, the most effective way to solve problems addressed and otherwise is for people, and not just entrepreneurs, to think what if.
Not to simply ask what if questions, which is already a popular notion among design-thinking adherents.
Thinking what if is to let your mind wander. To arrange and rearrange pieces in your models to explore the ideas we need for a changing world.
The Boring Engineering Part
As a quick engineering side-note, the reason it took so long to create what are effectively just 3D-ish representations of the Token icons is because, well, I don’t really know how to work with any of the standard 3D modeling programs out there. To learn the skill would be too time-consuming both short and long term, and I was reluctant to entice a 3D modeling expert down the financially uncertain folly that is Business Toybox in exchange for some sort of partnership.
That being said, problem solving is definitely my forte, as is programming. So I wrote a 3D program which effectively took simple 2D SVG images and made them 3D-ish. It’s still a work in progress, which is why not all Tokens have a matching 3D element to go along with them. Still, it works, and has such novelty that you can actually expect to see it spun off into it’s own thing.
It’s a very niche thing, but if you’re in a position similar to mine where you can design simple vector illustrations well-enough but lack any 3D modeling skill, you can at least use this upcoming tool to make do. I’m biased, but I have to admit I’m having a bit of fun with it.