Taming Complexity and Sparking Innovation Through Ideation and Design Thinking


Published on

Gayle Curtis, Design Consultant at BayCHI, December 8, 2009: A design thinking approach to product development gives us a place to start and a way to proceed with problems that are tricky and ill-defined. It can help tame their complexity and uncover innovative solutions. At the heart of this approach is ideation, the capacity for generating ideas and entertaining alternatives, which we most often practice in brainstorming sessions. In this talk we will look at the background, values and techniques of brainstorming and how to structure effective brainstorm sessions. We will also look at the ways group brainstorms can enhance team performance and serve as the sparkplug for an innovation pipeline.

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • To put ideation in context for tonight, this is my hyperbolic view of design thinking, with ideation at the center. Brynn and Krista have talked about the rest of the process, and I’m going to focus on just this.
  • We’re going to start with an exercise, and some sheets are being handed out now. In this section I’m going to talk about ideation, which is the process of having ideas. If we think about where ideas come from, we inevitably come to the notion of inspiration. Something inspires our ideas. The point of both of these quotes -- in different ways-- is that we can’t just wait. We have to just start putting things down and moving forward. The process of moving things forward will itself lead to the good ideas.
  • These are some commonly reported obstacles to getting to 30 circles. What else did you experience? In doing this exercise, you have grappled with your own process of ideation, trying to generate ideas and coming up against your own blocks. There are a number of techniques that are aimed at building our capability to generate ideas, such as forced association, synectics, lateral thinking, a whack on the side of the head, etc. One of the most basic, which I will focus on tonight, is brainstorming.
  • Brainstorming was defined by Alex Osborn in 1939, and from there it spread throughout the world. Our local community can trace a creative thread directly to Osborn through John Arnold and Bob McKim. IDEO and the d.school are direct philosophical descendants of Osborn’s approach to creative thinking.
  • Be open Don’t try to drive with foot on gas and brake Watch for criticism of your self as well as others Give up fear of being wrong or stupid Learn to trust your own imagination, and your team
  • Taming Complexity and Sparking Innovation Through Ideation and Design Thinking

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