Structured Ideation and Design Thinking


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At the heart of a design thinking process is ideation, the capability for generating and relating ideas.

Brainstorming is a frequently practiced form of ideation, and this presentation describes the four rules of classic brainstorming. It also gives guidance for how to structure brainstorm sessions to drive direct and indirect benefits.

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Structured Ideation and Design Thinking

  1. 1. Structured Ideation and Design Thinking Gayle Curtis 8 December 2009
  2. 2. Ideation and design thinking Observe & Understand Take a Point of View Ideate Prototype & Test Evaluate & Iterate Ideation is the process of forming and relating ideas BayCHI Dec 09 Source: Wikipedia 2
  3. 3. Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Thomas Edison, inventor Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. Chuck Close, artist BayCHI Dec 09 Sources: Wikiquote; Wisdom, by Andrew Zuckerman 3
  4. 4. Exercise – Thirty Circles You have a sheet with 30 circles 1. When we say GO! Transform each circle into something recognizable, such as a ball, a planet, bicycle wheels, etc. 2. It’s OK to draw outside the lines. 3. The goal: transform all 30 circles in TWO minutes. BayCHI Dec 09 4
  5. 5. Examples 9 different Extra time ideas 21 circles Some combining BayCHI Dec 09 5
  6. 6. Your experience? If < 30, why?  Not clear about the rules  Can circles be combined?  How different should they be?  Don’t like deadlines  Couldn’t draw fast enough  Not sure how much I wanted to get into this BayCHI Dec 09 6
  7. 7. Brainstorming Defined by Alex Osborn in 1939 “Storming a problem in a commando fashion”  “Your Creative Power,” 1949  “Applied Imagination,” 1953 Took on a life of its own  BBDO - Alex Osborn  MIT Creative Engineering Lab - John Arnold  Stanford Design Division - Bob McKim  IDEO  at Stanford and Potsdam BayCHI Dec 09 7
  8. 8. The Osborn Rules for Brainstorming BayCHI Dec 09 8
  9. 9. Osborn Rule #1 DEFER JUDGEMENT Say Yes! BayCHI Dec 09 Source: Doré 9
  10. 10. Fifty phrases that kill creativity  Our place is different  Now's not the right time.  It can't be done.  We tried that before.  It isn't in the budget.  It's too much trouble to change.  It costs too much.  Can't teach an old dog new tricks.  It won't pay for itself.  That's not my job.  Good thought, but impractical.  It's impossible.  They're too busy to do that.  Let's give it more thought.  I know a person who tried it and  We don't have the time.  We'll be the laughingstock of the got fired.  Not enough help. industry.  We've always done it this way.  It's too radical a change.  Not that again.  We'd lose money in the long run.  The staff will never buy it.  Where'd you dig that one up?  Don't rock the boat.  It's against company policy.  We did alright without it before.  That's what we can expect from  The union will scream.  It's never been tried. the staff.  That will run up our overhead.  Let's put that one on the back burner  Has anyone else ever tried it?  We don't have the authority. for now.  Let's look into it further.  Let's get back to reality  Let's form a committee.  We'll have to answer to the  That's not our problem.  It won't work in our place. stockholders.  I don't like the idea.  The executive committee will never  Quit dreaming.  I'm not saying you're wrong but... go for it.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  You're two years ahead of your  I don't see the connection.  That's too much ivory tower. time.  Let's all sleep on it.  It's too much work. BayCHI Dec 09 Source: Daniel DuFour 10
  11. 11. Osborn Rule #2 GO FOR QUANTITY Fluency and flexibility BayCHI Dec 09 11
  12. 12. We need both Fluency - Lots of ideas Flexibility - Lots of different ideas BayCHI Dec 09 12
  13. 13. The ebb and flow of ideas The Idea Curve When the going gets tough, the tough get stupid BRILLIANT BORING TIME ABSURD Dev Patnaik From The Ebb and Flow of Ideas, a Product Development - Best Practices Report, The Management Roundtable BayCHI Dec 09 Source: Dev Patnaik 13
  14. 14. Osborn’s checklist for transforming ideas Put to other uses? Magnify? Minify? Reverse?  New ways to use as is?  What to add?  What to subtract?  Transpose positive  Other uses if modified?  More time?  Smaller? and negative?  Greater frequency?  Condensed?  How about Adapt? opposites?  Stronger?  Miniature?  What else is like this?  Turn it backward?  Higher?  Lower?  What other idea does this  Turn it upside  Longer?  Shorter? suggest? down?  Extra Value?  Lighter?  Does the past offer  Reverse roles?  Plus ingredient?  Omit? parallel?  Change shoes?  Duplicate?  Streamline?  What could I copy?  Turn tables?  Multiply?  Split up?  Whom could I emulate?  Turn other cheek?  Exaggerate?  Understate? Modify? Rearrange? Combine? Substitute?  New twist?  Interchange  How about a blend, an  Who else instead?  Change meaning, color, components? alloy, an assortment,  What else instead? motion, sound, odor, form,  Other pattern? an ensemble?  Other ingredient? shape?  Other layout?  Combine units?  Other process?  Other shapes?  Other sequence?  Combine purposes?  Other place?  Transpose cause  Combine appeals?  Other approach? and effect?  Combine ideas?  Other tone of voice?  Change pace? BayCHI Dec 09 Source: Alex Osborn, Applied Imagination 14
  15. 15. Transformation cards BayCHI Dec 09 Source: the MIT Creative Engineering Laboratory, ca 1956 – Adapted from Osborn’s Applied Imagination 15
  16. 16. More strategies for getting ideas BayCHI Dec 09 Source: Rolf Faste 16
  17. 17. Osborn Rule #3 GET RADICAL WILD WEIRD ABSURD STUPID Easier to tone down than pump up BayCHI Dec 09 Source: Obey the Pure Breed 17
  18. 18. The idea curve revisited Illustrative representation of idea count BRILLIANT BORING TIME ABSURD “Out of a hundred ideas, the first sixty ideas produced five that were actually new or different, the next twenty produced nothing but laughter, and ideas eighty to a hundred produced another ten that were amazing. Thankfully, we didn’t give up when the well ran dry around idea number sixty.” BayCHI Dec 09 Source: Adapted from Dev Patnaik, The Ebb and Flow of Ideas 18
  19. 19. Osborn Rule #4 LEAPFROG Piggy-back Build on Let go BayCHI Dec 09 Source: Rolf Faste 19
  20. 20. Some other rules & tips Stay focused on topic And, for best results.…  Turn it around to something that Explicitly agree relates  “Let’s brainstorm!” One conversation at a time  “Yeah!”  Let everyone get their idea out Facilitate  Bring side discussions onto the table  “What else….?” Headline it Record  Get the essence and move on  Capture the ideas  Maintain flow Time box Be visual  Define the play period  Bring the right brain into play BayCHI Dec 09 20
  21. 21. A sample brainstorm Challenge: Some new ideas for waking up BayCHI Dec 09 Source: VizAbility 21
  22. 22. Structured Ideation in Product Development BayCHI Dec 09 22
  23. 23. Structured ideation sessions  Stakeholders and crossfunctional teams  Half-day to two-day sessions  Format: 1. Background briefing: users, context, goals, constraints 2. Break into small groups (6-10) with facilitators 3. Ideas on Postits; Postits on board 4. 40-60 minutes facilitated brainstorm 5. Cluster Postits on poster boards 6. Participants pick promising ideas & form xfunc teams around those 7. Each team develops a concept and story 8. Stories presented to entire group BayCHI Dec 09 23
  24. 24. Framework for product scenarios User  Identify the user, based on the target user group Context  Describe context or situation in which the problem exists Problem  Describe an incident or condition that motivates the use of the solution Solution  Show how they access and use the solution to address their need Outcome  Describe the outcome of the situation - the payoff, the problem solved, the happy user BayCHI Dec 09 24
  25. 25. Innovation pipeline What happens next?  Hottest ideas carried forth by champions  With coaching, ideas are groomed by those teams  Business case  Technical requirements  Implementation plan  Presented to management for roadmap evaluation BayCHI Dec 09 25
  26. 26. What other benefits? Brainstorming sessions have effect beyond the problem itself.  People feel empowered when their ideas get heard  Teams see a different way of relating to their project. They understand where ideas are coming from.  People discover a different way of relating to each other. They have the experience of constructive collaboration. BayCHI Dec 09 26
  27. 27. Recap What we learn from ideation  Defer judgment and entertain openness  Go for quantity and multiply your options  Get radical and explore the misfit, the absurd, the provisional  Leapfrog and mashup the old/new, wild/tame, yours/others  Whoosh! and maintain the flow BayCHI Dec 09 27
  28. 28. References Osborn, Alex, Your Creative Power, New York, New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1949 -- Your Creative Power [Abridged], Purdue University Press, 1999 -- Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving. New York, New York: C. Scribner's Sons. 1953 Patnaik,Dev, Jump Associates, The Ebb and Flow of Ideation, in Product Development – Best Practices Report (ISSN 1049-8400) ©2001 The Management Roundtable, Inc. Woolsey,K; Kim,S; Curtis,G; VizAbility, Course Technology, 2004 BayCHI Dec 09 28