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Design Jam: Brainstorm Innovative Ideas by Focusing on the User - AAUP 2016


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JSTOR Labs, which partners with publishers, libraries, and labs to build innovative tools for research and teaching (, uses “design jams” to come up with its creative products, designs, and tools. A design jam (also called a design studio) is a structured brainstorming technique that focuses on the user, resulting in dozens and even hundreds of new ideas in just a couple of hours. In this Collaboration Lab, we will learn how to design jam by conducting one. Come prepared to participate, to draw, to share your ideas, and to have fun.

The slides from this session include descriptions of the activities in a Design Jam, as well as templates.

Published in: Design
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Design Jam: Brainstorm Innovative Ideas by Focusing on the User - AAUP 2016

  1. 1. DESIGN JAM: BRAINSTORM INNOVATIVE IDEAS BY FOCUSING ON THE USER 17 June, 2016 Alex Humphreys, JSTOR Labs @abhumphreys AAUP Annual Conference 2016
  2. 2. JSTOR is a not-for-profit digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. Ithaka S+R is a not-for-profit research and consulting service that helps academic, cultural, and publishing communities thrive in the digital environment. Portico is a not-for-profit preservation service for digital publications, including electronic journals, books, and historical collections. ITHAKA is a not-for-profit organization that helps the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways.
  3. 3. JSTOR Labs works with partner publishers, libraries and labs to create tools for researchers, teachers and students that are immediately useful – and a little bit magical.
  4. 4. WHAT’S A DESIGN JAM* AND WHY WOULD I WANT ONE? • A design jam is a structured brainstorming activity • You don’t want to decide too quick what you’re doing • The more ideas you can generate, the more you have to choose from * Also called a “design studio.”
  5. 5. Our goal: Create a new, digital product for local historians in your region.
  6. 6. STEP 1: UNDERSTAND THE USER Exercise: Pain/Gain* Time: 10-20 minutes Materials: Post-its Sharpies Objective: Understand user’s motivations 1. Brainstorm answers: Gain: - What does success look like? Pain: - What obstacles stand in their way? 2. Capture each answer on a post-it and put on either Pain or Gain side of board. *
  7. 7. STEP 2: CREATE AS MANY IDEAS AS POSSIBLE Exercise: 8x8 Time: 8 minutes to draw 15 minutes to share Materials: Pencils Paper with 8 squares Objective: Create lots of ideas! 1. Working individually, draw 8 ideas in 8 minutes 2. Share your ideas 3. Rinse, repeat x 2
  8. 8. GUIDELINES FOR DESIGN JAMMING 1. You must draw! 2. If stuck, go back to the user. - How can you help them better reach their goal or avoid an obstacle? 3. Don’t worry… - about feasibility – there’ll be time for that later. - whether it’s a good idea – just get it down. 4. On the second round, steal other people’s ideas.
  9. 9. STEP 3: AGREE ON IDEAS FOR FURTHER EXPLORATION Exercise: Dot-voting Time: 5-10 minutes Materials: Dot-stickers Objective: Agree quickly & painlessly 1. Everyone gets 3 dot-stickers 2. Each person puts their stickers next to the ideas that most intrigue them 3. You put more than 1 sticker next to the same idea
  10. 10. THANK YOU Alex Humphreys Director, JSTOR Labs ITHAKA @abhumphreys Further Reading • The Lean Startup, Eric Ries • Business Model Generation, Osterwalder & Pigneur • Marty Cagan’s Blog: • Sprint, Knapp, Zeratsky, & Kowitz • Gamestorming, Gray, Brown & Macanufo