Better Ideas Faster: How to Brainstorm More Effectively

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Use these practical methods to help you brainstorm better, smarter, and more effectively, no matter the timeline. Using these methods, you can approach a design problem with the right questions so you can focus your creative energy on finding solutions.

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Better Ideas Faster: How to Brainstorm More Effectively

  1. better ideas faster How to Brainstorm more effectively David sherwin, frog design How DesiGn conference / 06.08.10 t: @ cHanGeorDer / e: DksHerwin@msn.com / BloG: cHanGeorDerBloG.com
  2. Brainstorms at inDeX by @boetter / 49915119 cc license share remix on flickr
  3. better ideas faster quantity breeds quality
  4. from Understanding Comics by scott mccloud — read this!
  5. better ideas faster quantity plus quality big ideas, low fidelity
  6. nixie clock by randomskk / 3535050466 cc license share remix on flickr
  7. better ideas faster quantity plus quality big ideas, low fidelity designing your deadlines
  8. just enough ideas at tHe very last minute some other Guy some otHer conference proBaBly runninG late
  9. better ideas faster identify your client’s actual problems 1 2 3 4 strateGy
  10. what business problem are you trying to solve?
  11. we’d like you to create a new logo and color palette for our restaurant… ?
  12. we’d like you to create a new logo and color palette for our restaurant… why? stated marketing and design needs are symptoms of larger, systemic business problems.
  13. ? ? Business problems ? Marketing + brand strategy ? Design strategy Tactics ? problems live in ? different orbits ? within a client ? organization. ?
  14. ? ? Business problems ? Marketing + brand strategy ? Design strategy Tactics ? problems live in ? different orbits ? within a client ? organization. ?
  15. Business proBlem sales have dropped 20% over this past year. we’d like you what should we do? to create a new logo and color palette for our restaurant… ?
  16. Business proBlem sales have dropped 20% over this past year. we’d like you what should we do? to create a new logo and color palette for our our service and restaurant… menu needs to be improved? ? ? we need a ? more effective ? website to ? should we attract new consider customers? search our signage is engine ads? hard to read— should we try and redo it?
  17. you should be thinking outside the box, but inside the strategy. BrainstorminG tip #1 !
  18. better ideas faster turn those problems into ideation questions 1 2 3 4 articulation
  19. how many designers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
  20. sales have dropped 20% over this past year. what should we do? not a DesiGn proBlem
  21. Business proBlem sales have dropped 20% over this past year. what should we do? we want a new identity system for our restaurant. ! we need a ! more effective website to ! attract new customers. we need to redo our signage, it’s hard to read.
  22. sales have dropped 20% over this past year. what should we do? not a DesiGn proBlem can you create a new identity system for our restaurant? not a DesiGn proBlem
  23. Business proBlem sales have dropped 20% over this past year. what should we do? we want a new identity system for our restaurant. ? ! ! ! what is the essence of this new restaurant identity?
  24. sales have dropped 20% over this past year. what should we do? not a DesiGn proBlem can you create a new identity system for our restaurant? not a DesiGn proBlem What is the essence of this new restaurant identity? a DesiGn proBlem!
  25. iDeation Questions what metaphors provide the appropriate meaning for the new identity? Articulating a design problem will suggest related questions that can be answered by design.
  26. iDeation Questions what what emotions metaphors would a person provide the feel when s/he appropriate encounters the meaning for new identity? the new identity? Articulating a design problem will suggest related questions that can be answered by design.
  27. iDeation Questions what what emotions what styles of what textures metaphors would a person typography and graphic provide the feel when s/he would best elements appropriate encounters the support this would best meaning for new identity? feeling? support this the new feeling? identity? what style of what color what materials How does photography schemes best would best motion—online or illustration express the express the & in the real supports the agreed-upon meaning & world—support meaning you’d meaning & emotion in the meaning DesiGn of this new eXecution like to convey? emotion? print? identity? Articulating a design problem will suggest related questions that can be answered by design.
  28. Business proBlem sales have dropped 20% over this past year. what should we do? what kind of website functionality would encourage repeat business? ? ? ! we need a ! more effective website to ! attract new customers.
  29. Starting with the right questions will steer you towards the right answers— by design. BrainstorminG tip #2 !
  30. better ideas faster Brainstorm using ideation questions and timeboxing 1 2 3 4 iDeation
  31. what is timeboxing? short, structured sprints to reach stated ideation goals
  32. how timeboxing works 20 mins Brain- storm BiG iDeas
  33. David sherwin / challenge: technoyoga / time limit: 120 min / this page: first 3 timeboxes
  34. how timeboxing works 20 mins 40 mins Determine app content Brain- storm evaluate BiG iDeas
  35. David sherwin / challenge: technoyoga / time limit: 120 min / this page: first 3 timeboxes
  36. how timeboxing works 20 mins 40 mins 60 mins 80 mins 100 mins 120 mins final clean sketcHes refineD visual wire- DesiGn evaluate frames tHinkinG Determine rouGH app wire- evaluate content frames Brain- storm evaluate BiG iDeas
  37. practice makes permanent
  38. HiGHer why timeboxing works flow anXiety cHannel diagram from flow: the psychology of optimal experience by mihaly csikszentmihalyi CHALLENGES Brain- evaluate Determine storm app BiG iDeas content reaD BoreDom cHallenGe low low SKILLS HiGHer
  39. HiGHer why timeboxing works visual DesiGn flow anXiety cHannel diagram from flow: the psychology of optimal experience by mihaly csikszentmihalyi rouGH evaluate refineD wireframes wire- frames CHALLENGES Brain- evaluate Determine storm app BiG iDeas content reaD BoreDom cHallenGe low low SKILLS HiGHer
  40. the more time you provide yourself during a brainstorm, the less likely you’ll be able to focus. BrainstorminG tip #3 !
  41. timeboxing + brainstorming methods using new and unusual brainstorming methods in timeboxes prompts novel ideas
  42. mind mapping visualizing connections between seemingly disparate pieces of information
  43. sean Baker, pictoric, and lenny vella, ’peeps creative / challenge: free association / time limit: 60 min
  44. sean Baker, pictoric, and lenny vella, ’peeps creative / challenge: free association / time limit: 60 min
  45. word listing an alternate type of mind map with more structure and faster results
  46. mark notermann / challenge: out of Gamut / time limit: 60 min
  47. mark notermann / challenge: out of Gamut / time limit: 60 min
  48. picture association collaging together found images to spark new design ideas
  49. Jarred elrod / challenge: never tear us apart / time limit: 60 min
  50. brutethink forcing connections between your area of focus and a totally unrelated word
  51. matt mcelvogue, frog design / sketched this last time i presented this talk
  52. idea inversion taking an idea and envisioning its exact opposite—this isn’t easy!
  53. Jessica thrasher / challenge: opposites attract / time limit: 60 min
  54. freeform sketching drawing pictures, words, and layout ideas in an free-form, associative way
  55. meta newhouse, newhouse Design / challenge: one line logo / time limit: 30 min
  56. meta newhouse, newhouse Design / challenge: one line logo / time limit: 30 min
  57. role playing act out how a product, service, or event would influence consumer behavior
  58. Donnie Dinch, meg Doyle, claire kohler, mark notermann / challenge: touch screen of Deaf rock / time limit: 60 min
  59. deconstruction tear apart the bits and pieces that make up an existing design, then quickly reassemble them
  60. David sherwin / challenge: i’m feeling really, really lucky / time limit: 60 min
  61. future- casting remove all reality constraints, working backward from what’s impossible to what’s possible
  62. mark notermann / challenge: future-casting / time limit: 60 min
  63. 10x10 sketching in one hour at least one hundred doodles, which are then analyzed for novel ideas
  64. David sherwin / challenge: 10x10 / time limit: 60 min
  65. By setting impossible goals, you’re more likely to create ideas that are truly unexpected. BrainstorminG tip #4 !
  66. 30 days in 30 minutes a method for learning to timebox as a team three timeboxes: 8 minutes ideation / 2 minutes critique one person is “the client,” everyone else designs
  67. Donnie Dinch, meg Doyle, claire kohler, mark notermann / challenge: storybook ending / time limit: 30 min
  68. Donnie Dinch, meg Doyle, claire kohler, mark notermann / challenge: storybook ending / time limit: 30 min
  69. better ideas faster Connect existing ideas to discover better ones 1 2 3 4 syntHesis
  70. idea clustering group and merge ideas, seeing which ones enhance the others around them
  71. scamper Substitute something Combine it with something else Adapt something to it Modify or magnify it Put it to some other use Eliminate something Reverse or rearrange it —alex osborn & Bob eberle
  72. Don’t fall in love with your first ideas. act like you’re speed dating until you run out of time. BrainstorminG tip #5 !
  73. better ideas faster best practices
  74. Capture big ideas with simple tools first. as the fidelity of an idea increases, you’re not brainstorming. you’re executing a design. almost a year of post-it notes from Dawn lozzi’s desk at frog design—can you guess how many are here?
  75. Keep a toolkit for your daily sketching needs. all you need is a pencil and an eraser, but a sharpie or two doesn’t hurt… this toolkit is from leah Buley at adaptive path. the blue pencil can be used for reference sketching, then photocopied without showing up. the red and warm gray markers are good for highlights.
  76. Express your ideas in ways that travel beyond the page. sing, dance, paint, act—use motion to create new perspectives on plain old words and pictures. Designer scott scheff and i created a 30-second commercial for a fictional record store in nyc—with a flip HD camera and a glue-huffing puppet oD’ing while listening to the pixies’ “wave of mutilation.” Deadline: 30 minutes.
  77. Write it, then draw it. (Or vice versa.) Get it all down. pictures hold more information—and possible interpretations—than anything ever said out loud. graphic facilitation by emily chang / 2591901494 share + remix cc on flickr
  78. Sketch like a designer, not like an artist. you can sketch a comp in a matter of a minute or two that adequately expresses any design idea. (not the execution!) Designer Jake rae created this sketch in a few minutes for a in-class challenge. is any other information necessary to convey what the execution would require?
  79. parting thoughts
  80. intuition deepens with practice
  81. intuition doesn’t come from rote repetition
  82. intuition fuels great design
  83. “plans are no substitute for the real thing… Process is a means to an end. our purpose is to create.” —mark rolston, frog design
  84. Questions? David sherwin dksherwin@msn.com @changeorder slides for this talk will be posted to changeorderblog.com Creative Workshop is out november 2010 from How Design press Better ideas faster | ©2010 David sherwin all rights reserved.

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