Week 4: Generating ideas

Week 4: Generating ideas

“Introduction to week 4 … Generating ideas in design … Creating ideas by analogy … Creating ideas with SCAMPER …  Generating ideas … Reflecting on your work”
(Source URL)


  • Week 4: Generating ideas > 4a Introduction to week 4 > Introduction to week 4
  • Week 4: Generating ideas > 4b Lecture: Generating ideas in design > Generating ideas in design
  • Week 4: Generating ideas > 4c Lecture: Creating ideas by analogy > How? Creating ideas by anology
  • Week 4: Generating ideas > 4d Lecture: Creating ideas with SCAMPER > How? Creating ideas with SCAMPER
  • Week 4: Generating ideas > 4e Reflecting on your work > Benchmark video week 4
  • Week 4: Generating ideas > 4e Reflecting on your work > Reflections from an expert: Deborah Nas
  • Week 4: Generating ideas > * Sofa session - Reflection on week 3: Defining a design challenge > Tips for peer review

Week 4: Generating ideas > 4a Introduction to week 4 > Introduction to week 4

  • Last week Jelle Zijlstra and Professor Matthijs van Dijk explained how to define a design challenge.
  • This is a crucial and often very difficult step in the design process.
  • Last week was all about reflecting and capturing what you learned so far, AND about defining a direction for the creative weeks to come.
  • As a designer it is your duty to define a clear design direction.
  • You take responsibility for the design that you will develop.
  • It will also help you to argue for your design along the way and get external support for your design.
  • Using the rich and inspirational insights that you have gathered and the challenge that you have defined you will start creating ideas.

Week 4: Generating ideas > 4b Lecture: Generating ideas in design > Generating ideas in design

  • If you do already have some ideas in mind, that’s great.
  • When people talk about generating ideas, they will probably be thinking about creativity.
  • By novel we mean the development of something that is to a greater or lesser extent different from previous ideas – so, that leads to something new.
  • Where do ideas come from? Well, they will come from you, but you can find inspiration to devise those ideas in different places.
  • Somehow representing these thoughts visually will help you to more easily build upon previous ideas and increase the chances of finding interesting connections.
  • What is important here is that you find a way to externalize your ideas, and somehow start representing them by using any means you like: through drawings, text, building simple mockups and so on.
  • You can either have a main idea that you explore in detail for a period of time until, hopefully, you make it work.
  • Here in Delft we have a tendency to favour the second approach, where you diverge while devising many different ideas, and then, at some point converge into groups of ideas, followed by some possible merging, combining and elimination of such ideas, until, ultimately, you arrive at a very reduced number of ideas you plan to bring forward and turn into design concepts.
  • This should help you identify which ideas have the potential to meet your requirements, and which ones can be discarded.
  • By now you might be thinking : “okay, but how do we create those ideas?”.
  • We believe that you can have more control over this process, so you can work towards developing more creative ideas and find inspiration in unlikely places.
  • One way to start working on developing those ideas is to use a particular method, or combination of methods, to support you along idea generation.
  • To make things more difficult, during this idea phase, the creative process itself is not without challenges.
  • One such situation is that you could become stuck at some point in your idea generation process.
  • You find yourself in a frustrating situation where you feel like you are not going anywhere, you think you cannot overcome a certain problem, or come up with a really good idea.
  • To sum up, there are different ways to generate ideas, but we suggest a thinking approach that involves you diverging onto as many ideas as you can, and then critically converging into a narrow selection you feel happy with.
  • Lastly, creativity is about the generation of new ideas, alternatives, and possibilities.

Week 4: Generating ideas > 4c Lecture: Creating ideas by analogy > How? Creating ideas by anology

  • Basically, you want to find inspiration for your ideas by searching for a useful source, or sources, that somehow share some resemblance with your target.
  • You may ask: “what sort of things move fast in the water and where can I find it?” The ocean might be a good starting place to look for such a thing, as I bet there are a bunch of sea creatures that move really fast.
  • The shark, and more specifically its skin, is your source.
  • Why not check if your problem, or parts of your problem, have, to some extent, been already solved? Now, you will not find a clear set of instructions in your source on how you can use it for your designs.
  • The challenge for you is to find a suitable source and in that source identify which parts, which properties and qualities, might be useful to help you design your target.
  • Nature is not the only place to look for sources, but it is a very popular one because, if you think about it, most organisms have had many millions of years to evolve and adapt to their environments.
  • As you can imagine, sharks are not going to tell you what it is about their skin that makes them fast! Now that we have a general idea about how analogies are made, let’s have a look at some of the more specific steps you might take to establish a link between a source and a target.
  • Are you trying to somehow encourage people to slow down and take time to do something properly? Or, maybe, to prioritize some of their morning rituals? What is the action, the activity you want to support? To reinvent? What is your target? If you have an idea about your challenge, you can start trying to establish analogies between useful sources and your target.
  • Basically, this process entails: the search for a source, or sources; the identification of a relationship between things within the source, that you think share some resemblance to what you are trying to design; then you have to abstract from what you see and look for the essence of that relationship, and not simply copy-past parts of the source; finally, you have to transform and transfer it to your target.
  • He then identified this feature, this relationship of protectiveness between skull and beak and tried to recreate this spongy layer.
  • He had to abstract from the idea of the real spongy cartilage and think about what could be artificially recreated.
  • This search for sources in far distant domains will be challenging because the thing you are looking for might not be so evident at the surface level, but instead it could be hiding deep inside the source.
  • You cannot forget that your search for a useful source depends on a clear definition of your problem and design challenge, otherwise it becomes very difficult to have an idea about what might be useful for solving your problem.
  • Your aim is to establish a comparison between what you might be trying to design – what effect you want to realize – and an existing thing or process that already does that in a completely different context, but which with some transformation might inspire you to solve your problem.
  • In line with the aim of diverging onto several ideas, don’t just stick to the first useful source you come across, but go through the process a few times and explore a number of useful sources.
  • Lastly, the purpose of this method is to generate ideas, so you will need to start thinking about also narrowing your solution search and maybe cluster, select and eliminate ideas.

Week 4: Generating ideas > 4d Lecture: Creating ideas with SCAMPER > How? Creating ideas with SCAMPER

  • The method I will be talking about today, might help you when you are stuck in your idea generation process, or when you simply have this feeling that you want to explore different perspectives, and hopefully, make your initial thoughts stronger by increasing its potential.
  • The main thing about this method is that by using one or more of the actions it suggests, you can further explore existing ideas and turn them into brand new options.
  • With SCAMPER you can find an alternative that might finally solve your problem altogether, or part of it, or even give you clues to rearrange some components or requirements for your idea.
  • Even if nothing new comes out of this method and your initial idea still feels like the right one, SCAMPER can help you in the decision-making process by putting to the test your initial plan.
  • Okay, let’s start SCAMPER is like a checklist of questioning-actions that help in the generation of ideas.
  • How can you combine parts within an idea? Or combine different things into your idea? A. stands for Adapt.
  • How can you use your idea differently? Can you think about other uses for it, other then the initial one? E. stands for Eliminate, which will probably help to make your case stronger.
  • What happens if you rearrange parts or elements of your idea? Or if you reverse its logic and way of being? In total, you have at least seven small steps that might be used together, isolated in sets, or in a different order.
  • Whatever you and your potential design ideas might need, the productive thing about SCAMPER is that it makes you question certain givens or details you take for granted.
  • Bear in mind that putting your ideas through the SCAMPER process, might not automatically mean they are full-proof, but it does help.
  • He picked up the brothers’ simple idea of selling a burger in a paper bag with French fries for a quick snack, and, hurray make it easy, simplified, standardized and fast food was invented! He then put it to another use, in this case through franchising, selling restaurants and real estate, instead of simply selling burgers.
  • Again, the purpose of SCAMPER is to open your thinking process to new things and not, primarily, evaluate or test the feasibility of an idea.
  • To sum up, SCAMPER usually works best when you already have some ideas that need to be shaken up, manipulated and explored.

Week 4: Generating ideas > 4e Reflecting on your work > Benchmark video week 4

  • Like you we also defined our problem definition, design challenge and list of requirements last week.
  • In this video we show you how we use the method to generate ideas.
  • So today we apply the techniques, analogies for idea generation and the scamper method.
  • So I will explain one of the analogies we used in our idea generation, which is climbing the Eiffel Tower.
  • In both scenarios there is a conflict on the one side our user wants to have a healthy start of the day, but he feels responsible and wants to have an efficient morning.
  • If you think you have collected enough, choose some so you can apply the scamper method.
  • So I think it is time to go further to Scamper with these ideas.
  • If you came up with a satisfying number of ideas it is time to cluster them We made pictures of the full pages before cutting them into pieces, because you might want to look back on how you imagines things in the first place.
  • When you cluster ideas it is easy when you have them all on separate pieces of paper.
  • Clustering ideas and choosing between them will make you solve the problem in different directions.

Week 4: Generating ideas > 4e Reflecting on your work > Reflections from an expert: Deborah Nas

  • We help companies like Philips, Heineken Unilever Schiphol Airport to come up with ideas for new products and new services that will help them achieve their objectives.
  • We put a team together, two of us and ten multi-disciplinary people from a companies organization and we take them through the whole process of identifying consumer insights, coming up with ideas, turning ideas into propositions and then finally testing, validating and creating the business case.
  • Brainstorming is a very important part of our work here and we love doing so, because it’s fun it gives you lots of energy and there are different ways to generate ideas I will explain a bit more about that.
  • We especially believe in visual tools to come up with associations and come up with new, creative, fresh ideas.
  • We developed a tool called the brain bricks, and what it is, is a selection of carefully selected pictures actually that help people to come up with new ideas and spark creativity.
  • We often get the question, what do you do when people get stuck? And to be honest that doesn’t really happen that often, because we usually take a full day from 9 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon and we use different tools and methodologies to generate ideas.
  • One last piece of advice when generating ideas, make sure you have an open mind and you allow all ideas to come out.

Week 4: Generating ideas > * Sofa session – Reflection on week 3: Defining a design challenge > Tips for peer review

  • Giving feedback is not the easiest task You want to motivate other students to learn about their work, rather than bringing them down.
  • ” “Therefore we would like to offer you some tips in providing constructive feedback.
  • “I think your assignment is BAD?” “BAD but why?” “Written language can be interpreted completely different than you might expect.
  • Therefore be sure to choose you words and sentences carefully “BAD?” “Hmmm typing I think your assignment. contains some unfortunate decisions, because in the first part.]”The Sandwich method could help you to structure your feedback in a positive way.

Return to Summaries

(image source)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *