Better Ideas Faster: Handouts


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Better Ideas Faster: Handouts

  1. 1. BETTER IDEAS FASTER OVERVIEW Identify your Turn those Brainstorm Connect client’s actual problems using ideation existing ideas problems into ideation questions and to discover questions timeboxing better ones 1 2 3 4 STRATEGY ARTICULATION IDEATION SYNTHESIS Focus your efforts Don’t try to chop This combination Before you dive into by being a strategic down a difficult design produces effective execution, see where partner to your clients problem with one and actionable ideas. you can cluster, merge, from Day One. This will swing of your mental Use timeboxing: short, and explode ideas to help you make sure ax. Instead, chip apart structured sprints to find new ones. You’ll be you’re solving the right the problem using achieve stated idea surprised at what new problems by design. ideation questions. generation goals. ideas you’ll discover. ©2010 DAVID SHERWIN | DKSHERWIN@MSN.COM | CHANGEORDER.TYPEPAD.COM | @CHANGEORDER
  2. 2. BETTER IDEAS FASTER IDENTIFY THE ACTUAL PROBLEM Suggest more appropriate ways for your clients to reach desired business outcomes. Get to the root cause of why they’ve suggested a certain marketing strategy or design approach. Client needs are often symptoms of a larger, more interesting business problem—one that you’re probably best off defining before you start designing. Otherwise, you’re just throwing ideas at the wrong target. CLIENT NEED ASK TOUGH QUESTIONS PROVIDE FOCUS Our client needs a new “What are your goals for Based on the answers to our logo and color palette this project?” questions, we determine that the for their restaurant. rebranding exercise is a symptom “What business conditions of sales dropping by 20% over They want it to be blue caused these problems the past year. We could suggest and red, maybe with to emerge?” to our client that they… a flying fish. “What other strategies did you consider before • Retool their website choosing this course • Revise their online advertising 1 of action?” • Create more compelling signage “What other related • Improve their service and food problems are also on When you start brainstorming the horizon?” design concepts, you should “How does this upcoming be thinking outside the box, project fit into your brand but inside the strategy that and/or marketing story?” you determine here. ©2010 DAVID SHERWIN | DKSHERWIN@MSN.COM | CHANGEORDER.TYPEPAD.COM | @CHANGEORDER
  3. 3. BETTER IDEAS FASTER CREATE IDEATION QUESTIONS Let’s start coming up with all sorts of amazing ideas! Wait—where do we even start? First, jot down some ideation questions. They are restatements of issues that form the basis of a design problem. Post-it Notes, Sharpies, and other simple tools help here, as you can cluster and group your questions for when you start brainstorming. THE PROBLEM IDEATION QUESTIONS FOCUSED DESIGN QUESTIONS Our client needs to “How can we increase sales “What motifs could become a increase sales at their by 20% this year?” design theme for the new brand?” restaurant, Macrame, by 20% this year. “What is the essence “What materials would best of the Macrame brand?” express the brand in the We’ve agreed to create real world?” “How can we better a new brand system differentiate Macrame from “What types of interactivity for them, including a their competition?” would express the brand on new identity, an overhaul the website?” of their website, and “What kind of online 2 new signage and menus experience would “What color schemes will for their two locations. encourage patronage?” work?” (Blue? Red?) They want it to be blue “What connections will and red, maybe with people see between a flying fish. the online experience and real-world experience?” ©2010 DAVID SHERWIN | DKSHERWIN@MSN.COM | CHANGEORDER.TYPEPAD.COM | @CHANGEORDER
  4. 4. BETTER IDEAS FASTER USE TIMEBOXING Timeboxing is the use of short, structured sprints to achieve stated idea generation goals. When presented with a deadline, plan out a series of manageable steps that have tangible work output, such as a set number of design ideas or sketches. Quantity is the name of the game, not quality. Try to capture ideas in both words and pictures. Always set a goal that’s hard to reach. Sketch each idea on a separate sheet of paper or Post-it Note. STATE YOUR INTENT SET A TIME LIMIT SET A GOAL “How can we increase sales 15 minutes At least 20 idea sketches by 20% this year?” “What is the essence 10 minutes At least 15 idea sketches of the Macrame brand?” “How can we better 15 minutes At least 15 idea sketches differentiate Macrame from their competition?” “What kind of online 30 minutes At least 15 wireframes 3 experience would or user flows encourage patronage?” “What connections will 15 minutes At least 10 idea people see between sketches the online experience and real-world experience?” ©2010 DAVID SHERWIN | DKSHERWIN@MSN.COM | CHANGEORDER.TYPEPAD.COM | @CHANGEORDER
  5. 5. BETTER IDEAS FASTER BRAINSTORMING TECHNIQUES If you find yourself getting stuck, throw a brainstorming technique in one of your timeboxes. You’ll inevitably find yourself gravitating towards the techniques that seem to work best, but it’s important to vary techniques every so often to stay fresh. MIND-MAPPING WORD LISTING PICTURE ASSOCIATION BRUTETHINK Allows you to identify a range of ideas An alternate method of mind-mapping. Mind-mapping without a verbal foundation. From ThinkerToys, great when you’re stuck. quickly in a free-form manner. 1. On a sheet of paper, write a column 1. Search the Internet for photographs 1. Come up with a seed word related to 1. Place the key point of focus for of words with as many concepts or (Google, FFFFOUND, stock sites) that the focus you’ve been provided—or an your brainstorm in the center of the terms as possible related to your point feel related to the project at hand. old one that you couldn’t get to “activate.” page or whiteboard. of focus for your design. 2. Arrange them in groups or clusters. 2. Write down the first thing that pops 2. Write words / terms related to the 2. In a second column, pick an idea that 3. Write words around the clusters into your mind, even if it’s random. focus in the empty space around the interests you from the first column and that describe the essential messages 3. Hold both words in your mind or look center, radiating outward. If you run out expound upon it. they convey. at them on a page. Find as many ways of concepts, write down slightly related 3. In the third column, write down words to intuitively associate the idea and the 4. From these groups, distill into things, opposites, or unrelated thoughts. that are the opposite of the material in random word. possible directions/design sketches. 3. Expand upon relationships in ideas column 1. that emerge from the various nodes, 4. Circle relationships that span columns circling and grouping items as necessary. 1 through 3. Distill into big ideas. 4. Distill big ideas from the map. FREE-FORM SKETCHING ROLE PLAYING YES, AND… MAD LIBS Draw pictures, words, and layout ideas Act out how the client’s product/service In a group, go around the table and Create a simple Mad Lib that contains a in an free-form, associative way. Then is being used in the real world. Let your continue to evolve an idea without blank analogy. It could be phrased like step back, assess, and refocus. This often teammates observe, react, and question judgment. Simply say, “Yes, and,” then this: My client’s ________ is __________ works best with a number of people what you’re doing in order to glean insight add to it. One person records the ideas like __________. Pass copies of it to your sketching simultaneously, then sharing. from the experience. as they grow and morph. colleagues and see what stories emerge. ©2010 DAVID SHERWIN | DKSHERWIN@MSN.COM | CHANGEORDER.TYPEPAD.COM | @CHANGEORDER
  6. 6. BETTER IDEAS FASTER CONNECTING IDEAS The final and most critical step is to reflect on your ideas and see how they can be connected, combined, and otherwise improved. Limit yourself to a set period of time to see how much further you can push your ideas on paper before moving into formal execution. This is also a good time to peel away the ideation questions and see how your ideas cross-pollinate and point at big design themes. CLUSTER IDEAS SCRAMBLE IDEAS EXPAND IDEAS Let the sketches sit Use the SCAMPER checklist: Focus on one tiny detail of overnight on a studio an idea and explode it. wall. Then in the morning, • Substitute something evaluate. Group sketches • Combine it with Take a concept that’s on the together that speak to something else cutting-room floor, envision each other. Provide a • Adapt something to it its exact opposite in every name for the overall way, then redraw it. • Modify or magnify it idea contained by Take only the words from • Put it to some other use those sketches. a key idea and draw a range • Eliminate something 4 of expressions of it. • Reverse or rearrange it Take a pile of paper and redraw an idea repeatedly. TEST-DRIVE THESE TECHNIQUES WITH CREATIVE WORKSHOP: 80 CHALLENGES TO SHARPEN YOUR DESIGN SKILLS, A BOOK BY DAVID SHERWIN. (NOV. 2010, HOW DESIGN PRESS) ©2010 DAVID SHERWIN | DKSHERWIN@MSN.COM | CHANGEORDER.TYPEPAD.COM | @CHANGEORDER
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