Some parts of the Design Thinking process can be used independently of the rest. One stage that you can use independently is Ideation. When everyone else is too busy and can’t directly contribute to the overall project for a continuously long period, ask for 5 to 10 minutes of their time and engage them in an Ideation activity, under Design Thinking rules (see below).
We did this recently with a group of four 14 year olds at The Failure School and they generated 72 ideas in 7 minutes, which is a new record for me and despite challenging several cohorts of adults in our corporate Design Thinking workshops to beat them, no adult team has come close.
This hints at a deeper problem of seemingly (but not really) losing creativity as we get older, though we’ll save that discussion for a future blog post. Ask a group of 14-year-olds if they feel creative and everyone raises their hands; ask a group of adults the same question and the results are less convincing.
You can’t just put four 14 year olds in a room and tell them to have ideas though. It doesn’t work like that. You have to create the right mental space, give them the right tools, make sure they follow specific rules and make sure they understand what the topic is that they’re ideating on.
So here’s what we did with the kids and also what we do with adults:
We do this in our office a lot when we have a problem that needs as many ideas as possible. The team leading the project will bring the problem to the group and lead the session. It’s amazing how many ideas people who say they’re “not creative” can generate if you apply the rules above.
We usually invite everyone from sales, marketing, admin and operations to an ideation session to ensure we’re getting as wide an angle as possible on the problem. Everyone can contribute!
It doesn’t take long and as long as you have the problem well-defined with a How Might We statement, you only need 7 minutes to run the session so there’s no reason not to get started today!
If you’d like to learn more about this and other Design Thinking techniques, you might be interested in our next Design Thinking public training happening on July 20th in Makati.
Try out this technique and please let me know how you get on!