Greenhouse Studios is forging a new model of inquiry-driven, collaboration-first scholarly production. The Greenhouse Studios design process begins with a team of people and an inquiry-focused prompt posed externally by Greenhouse Studios. It is the externality of the prompt that puts people and collaboration at the center of the Greenhouse Studios process, rather than the needs of a particular faculty researcher. Teams are composed of diverse talents—librarians, faculty, students, artists, developers, acquisition editors and other publishing professionals, and others. Phases of the design process are organized around intensive working “sprints” punctuated by interim products to allow iterative progress and multiple concurrent projects.
People and Collaboration at the Center of Inquiry
When a Greenhouse Studios project team is assembled around a prompt, the first phase of its work aims to understand both its prompt and the human talents and other resources (collections, technologies, audiences, internal and external funding opportunities) and constraints (time, money, audiences) at hand. It does this through a process of listening to and questioning one another and defining the project’s terms and parameters. At the end of the understand sprint, the team produces a possibility document that outlines the project’s aims and audiences, a basic outline of the research landscape in which it resides, the relevant talents and resources the team has to address the prompt, and what the ultimate product must do to answer the prompt.
The second phase sees the team expand its thinking once again by entering a phase of divergent research and ideation in which it identifies relevant sources, knowledge, and inspiration. The team reconvenes to sort and synthesize its findings, to start thinking more concretely about the possible manifestations of the project and, ultimately, to produce a detailed project proposal.
With the creative brief as a guide, the team embarks on a period of iterative prototyping, testing, and refining of the work, with progress toward a final deliverable in mind. During this build phase of active implementation, the team convenes weekly for “stand up” meetings. The build phase ends when team members agree that the media manuscript is feature complete and ready for peer review and revision. The design process concludes with dissemination of the publication/s and the longer-term work of marketing, assessment, and preservation and access.