Blog Post 4: Brainstorm/Blue Sky Ideation


How Might We… store houseplants so that they do not take up too much horizontal space yet remain aesthetically pleasing?

Personal Sketches/Ideation:

The originals! I went of this first.


I’ll be honest, trying to wrangle four separate college students together to sit down for at least 40 minutes was not as easy as I’d hoped it would be. Go figure. Turns out that everyone is really freakin’ busy. So, I decided to nab a group of people where they naturally congregated, anyway- the climbing gym. I figured I could snag some of my team members before we began practice to amp ’em up a little before I gave them a limb-killing workout on the wall. Plus, these folks are pretty down to earth and eco-conscious, which makes them good candidates for a plant-related brainstorming session. First things first, though… I had to get them warmed up.

For my warmup (which is ironic because we “warm up” on the wall for 20–30 minutes before practice starts, anyway) I tried to pull together a few separate ideas into my own unique game. Ya know, to get those creative juices flowing. Since we had a climbing wall at our disposal, I tried to find a way to incorporate that into my session.

I had my motley crew of four *willing* individuals hop on the wall and make up their own climbing route, which is a common training game we utilize- but there was a catch. I had them emulate their favorite animal while they were climbing- the result was a bunch of strange sounds, wing-flapping movements, and lots of turned heads. I think the game did it’s job, though.

Here’s a photo of teammate Danny flailing on the wall, imitating what I think he described as a Jellyfish.


Once my pals were all sufficiently warmed up (both physically and mentally, I should add), it was time to begin the brainstorm session. I had them gather in a circle with their respective post-it pads and told them to start conceptualizing the ideas they had hopefully been thinking of the day or two before (when I had told them the original prompt). That was then, however, that we got *yelled* at by one of our advisors to move- so we had to kick it upstairs to one of the workout rooms, where we laid out and sketched ideas for about half an hour between ab sets.

(I forgot to take a photo of everyone sketching their ideas… oops… until I had collected them all, but here’s a brief rundown of all the participants of my entire project: Danny (pictured above from a VERY BLURRY video screenshot, my apologies), Monika (the coworker I had previously interviewed, who has many plants), Brenden (my friend and teammate who also own several plants, particularly edible ones to make pesto with) as well as my pal and teammate Cooper (a new, hesitant plant dad).

Here’s a photo of us climbing the night previously, at another gym, after routesetting a little bit.

From left to right: Brenden, Cooper, and Monika.


Once everyone had spewed out their ideas, it was time to sort and vote on the best ones. We laid out on the couches outside the workout room and did this quickly, as the gym was about to close. Since I had all given them the prompt the day before, they had already been thinking about plant storage and organization previously. After we eliminated the overlapping ideas, of which there were several, we organized them into categories. At first, I didn’t want to pre-determined categories (much like we had done in class) because I wanted to see what my teammates came up with. After all was said in done, here was the final sort-through.

The first category, which we called “Repurposed Items”. The idea behind this one is that these are items/parts of everyday items that are being transformed to accommodate houseplants. I.E. a cork-board, a picture frame, etc.
This second set of ideas was referred to as “Basic Storage Means”, and included different shapes/iterations of boxes/planters that we’d commonly see in houses anyway.
This small category was the odd one out, that we just dubbed “Creative” or “Non-traditional” because they seemed very out of the box.
This last category was called “Commonplace Furniture/Everyday Item Add-Ons” and was mostly furniture/household items that had plants attached.


The top ideas that came out of this session didn’t require too much afterthought, as they overlapped with several other ideas and overall seemed to hold the most “water”. It turned out that so many of the ideas overlapped, that we decided to focus on the ones that were different… and I picked from those. Here are the top ten, revised in my drawings: