1 Individual Idea Generation

1–1 Top problem

From the analysis of the 93 pictures from last post, here goes the essence:

How might we make people love organizing their desks?

1–2 Individual idea generation

Total of 38 ideas was sketched in the form of thumbnails.

2 New Warm-Up Game

Alternative usage detective

One person is selected as “detective”. A common product/item is given to the rest of the group but not shown to the detective. Other group members will describe one alternative usage one by one according to the given item but nobody is allowed to say its actual usage. For example, if given a tooth brush, people can say “to poke someone”, but not “to brush your teeth”. In the end, the detective need to guess or sketch what the given item is.

Brain storm team trying out “Alternative usage detective”

The game went very smoothly, a lot of laughter went on.

The main concerns during the game design:

  • Thinking about alternative usage is a good way of training creative thinking. The game gets harder for the people coming up with alternative usages and gets easier for the detective (but more stressful).
  • For the detective, it is a short and time limited brainstorming of designing “What product can fit with all these criteria?”
  • The detective is placed in the center of attention thus making participants get used to being paid attention while presenting their own ideas.
  • It tells the person who plays the detective role that it is okay to make mistakes in front of people (many guesses before actually getting the answer) and people will always be supported by all the team members (encouraging and giving hints one by one).

The words together with the sketches I chose was “toothbrush”, “apple”, “cup”, and “mirror”. All except for cup was guess correctly and cup was given the most alternative usages (total of 16).

Followed by that I have conducted the games of “Zip Zap Zop”, “Word ball”, and “Once upon a time”.

I personally like “once upon a time” the best because it really teaches the group to cooperate and getting used to being laughed at.

3 Session Organization

3–1 Group member backgrounds

Seven people from six different backgrounds were gathered for the brainstorm activity.

3–2 IPM

3–3 Documentation of the process


Sharpies, index cards, candies.


I figured out that the ideas introduced beforehand kind of determines the direction of the brainstorming process. When I was introducing my 10 ideas to the team, what has inspired the team member the most was the fact that I had many funny product ideas of punishing the users. Although the purpose of that was to ease the tension and stress when it comes to “brainstorming”. The good side was that everyone was being playful during the session, most of the ideas ended up with punishment related themes.

During the brainstorming session, random word index was provided at the first time when people stopped sketching and started contemplating. They were told to write three characters on the index card and exchange on the second time. On the third time, due to the fact that I personally really wanted to stop the trend of punishing our users, I have directed them with thinking about the organization of certain stuff such as cords, pens, and laptops.

4 Sorting and Voting

4–1 Sorting

Silent sorting method was used. There was some confusion in the beginning but fortunately, the group figured out five categories in the end.

The final categories were:

  • Games related
  • Electric
  • Fictional products
  • Punishing
  • Garbage sorting

4–2 Voting

I handed every member a blue Sharpie pen. Multi-voting was conducted according to the following rules:

  • Every person have to put five triangles and five circles on the ideas.
  • Triangles represent the fact that the idea is very innovative.
  • Circles represent the fact that the idea is very feasible.
  • Multiple marks on one idea is allowed.
  • Do not draw on the sketches.

There were both good sides and bad sides during the voting process. The good side is that we eventually voted out the most innovative as well as the most feasible ideas. However there was this “black hole organizer” which is innovative but completely unrealistic, has got circle votes. “I just did it for fun.” I was told.

Probably there might be better ways of doing the voting session. Such as speaking the reason of voting out loud before putting a circle on an idea to prevent “random choices”.

5 Top Ideas

“Sliding board” (Pauli) and “Sorting tunnel”
“Trash can alarm” (Jenifer) and “suspending shelf” (Corissa)
“Attach me shelves” ( Janessa) and “Magnet board” (Allie)
“Hamster streamline” and “Rubber band target drawer” ( Pauli)
“Skyline shelf” and “Corner bag” (Jinglun)

6 Acknowledgment

Hereby, I really want to thank the members of Chi Alpha spending your precious evening hour with me brainstorming. Thanks for your great ideas and this energy you have brought to the group that made the activities so much fun. Thank you Corissa for facilitating the communication and stetting up the meeting time, also for the sharpies, that was really helpful. Thank you Jenifer for introducing me to the group and making it less awkward for me to jump in after your club meeting. Thank you everyone, this project cannot possibly be done without all your help.