Creative Design Methods — Module 4

How might we improve the quality and process of sleep

My general ideas

Below are some scans from my notebook from brainstorming solo. My sketches were really detailed but I had fun illustrating the functionality of each product idea.

New warm-up game

To warm-up we played zip zap zop, word ball, reverse word ball, and a game I made up. I combined the one word story circle with the and then/no, that’s not what happened partner games. All participants stands in a circle. Someone starts the story with a sentence with a subject, verb, and object. The next person adds a sentence after saying “and then”. The story continues to build with each group member contributing more that just one word.

I didn’t take a picture of the my brainstormers playing the game I created because I actually played with them, but I took a cheesy group photo after zip zap zop:

Session organization


I asked a variety of family friends with different backgrounds to come to my brainstorming session. Unfortunately, I had 3 cancellations (2 in the beginning of the session) from people who would have brought even more perspectives. Everyone knew my mom well and had met the other attendees previously but were only acquaintances.

  • R = my mom, works for Hennepin County, has sleep apnea
  • G = mother of a high school student, works for Bloomington Public Schools
  • M = psychologist, had restless leg syndrome married to J
  • J = local realtor, married to M
  • K = semi-retired copy editor for the Star Tribune


I reserved the common room at Common Roots Cafe in south Minneapolis for $20 online. I opened a tab for all drinks for my participants as a small thank you. I chose this space because it was near mostly people and it was a room with a door and good wall space. There weren’t any square or round tables to fit everyone perfectly but it worked. A virtual tour of the space is available in the link below:

Warm-up games

As I said earlier, we played zip zap zop, word ball, reverse word ball, and the game I made up. At first, everyone felt silly but by the end of each game we all were laughing and comfortable.

Idea generation (time, total ideas generated, IPM)

Before brainstorming, I handed out a few of Barry’s slides from lecture and talked about the rules of brainstorming. I really liked the visuals he provided in class and thought they might be helpful for everyone. We brainstormed for 25 minutes total. I was planning on going for only 20 minutes but at the 20 minute mark, a few people were still pushing ideas at a good rate so we kept going. Every 5 minutes, I provided some assistance including: dopamine (dark chocolate with almonds, brute think (random words on a card), props (random objects from the dollar store), and rolestorming (roles/characters on a card). 63 ideas were generated total, therefore the group produced 0.504 ideas per minute (per person). After brainstorming, we took a break to get drinks, go to the restroom, and cool off for a while.

Sorting and voting

The group silently sorted for a surprisingly long time, probably around 10 minutes. I told them to sit down when they felt most ideas were in the right place. They really took advantage of the wall space available. The categories made were: substances/drugs, calming technology, comfortable environments/materials, reverse psychology/rethink sleep, apps, simulators, audio sleep motivators, relaxation experience, soft/automatic lighting, cat related, RLS remedies, connections to the head, and beds.

Everyone was given 4 blue dots to vote for the ideas they thought were most creative and 4 red dots for their favorite ideas. I took a time-lapse of the process:

Top ideas

I had a really hard time choosing my top ideas. After the brainstorming session, I did some unpacking and laid all of the ideas with any votes out in order of type and quantity of votes:

In the end, I chose these final ideas: