The CCS Vision Pack App

Craig Browne

[first published 10 Sept 2012]

WELL, the CCS is now available as an iPhone App! Offering the CCS process on a medium other than cards is not a move we at CCS Corporation have made lightly. There are things about the cards that influence the CCS experience. But the iPhone offers a tactile, focussed and personal experience that allows us to successfully parallel the card sorting process and maintain the quality of communication people have come to expect from the CCS.

What is the CCS really?

The CCS is a tool to improve face to face communication and self-discovery through the use of specially chosen photos, illustrations and words. The process follows three basic steps:

  1. view image cards one at a time while thinking about a particular topic
  2. select a small number of images for the topic
  3. talk and/or write about why you chose these images.

Standard cards have been (and will likely always be) an excellent and efficient way for people to follow these three steps. Cards are nice to hold, easy to thumb through and a good size for sharing and comparing choices. In addition, we believe that the ‘low tech’ nature of cards is an important reason for their success. The simple, universal technology of a ‘playing card’ does not get in the way of free flowing conversation and there is nothing to learn before a person can begin the process. You just let them know that any card can mean anything to anyone and away they go!

So, each time we looked at the capacity of an emerging technology (particularly personal computers) to deliver the CCS process, our conclusion had been that the cards were still really the only satisfactory way to do this. However, recent versions of powerful touch-enabled hand-held devices such as the iPhone, have changed this conclusion.

These mobile devices are extraordinarily pervasive, easy to use and offer the opportunity to provide a personal, focussed and tactile experience. They also happen to be about the same size as a CCS card!

We decided therefore that now was the right time to begin making the CCS process available to people on these devices (starting with the iPhone) and I am pleased to say that not only does it work well, it offers a range of additional benefits.

The CCS App Experience

As you will likely find when you use it for yourself, as I encourage you to do, the CCS App experience is not exactly the same as the cards but it is definitely comparable. In fact, despite the obvious difference that you are not actually holding or touching a real card, I think the App experience feels very similar to the cards – some people may even prefer it. And the self talk – that all important conversation in your head as you flick through the pack – is just as rich and insightful. Furthermore, when two people sit opposite one another, each with their own App, and take turns to share their image choices, the quality of communication is at the level you have come to expect from the CCS.

Of course, the App will not suit everyone or every situation and it is not meant to. The App is not a replacement for the cards, it’s just another way to deliver the CCS process in certain situations. Indeed, I wager it will be some time before you will find a simpler more effective way to get a room full of participants cooperating, listening, sharing, discovering and creating faster and more easily than by giving each of them a pack of CCS cards and a few good topics! So now we have the card packs and the App pack.

A range of great features

In addition to being a compact version of the cards, the CCS Vision Pack App offers a range of great features that CCS users and particularly CCS facilitators are sure to find valuable:

  • Both CCS packs: the App includes both the CCS original pack and the CCS Express cards. You can choose between packs at the click of a button.
  • Auto shuffle and pack reset: you can reset your pack at any time and choose whether the pack is shuffled or presented in the standard order.
  • Add annotations: you can easily add annotations to each of your card choices.
  • Title and Save your visions: add titles to your visions and save them for later reference.
  • Print your visions: the App allows you to print your visions including the CCS images, annotations and titles.

I invite you all to try the CCS Vision Pack App and begin applying it in your communication work. As a starter, you will likely find it particularly useful in self-discovery, one on ones and as a way to record choices made by participants in group sessions. Please let us know your discoveries and insights.

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Craig Browne

Craig is co-founder of CCS Corporation, co-developer of the CCS, a designer, educator, product developer and award-winning game maker.