This assignment took ideas, skills, and strategies about brainstorming that were learned in class and through the readings and applied them directly to real life experience. I was able to use the techniques from class to facilitate my own brainstorm session centered around the idea of dresser-top organization. I used the improv games and activities from previous weeks to help my participants become more comfortable with each other and the task at hand. I then was able to explain to them the problem and what the brainstorm process looks like. I walked them through the entire process and was able to gain a deeper understanding and become more comfortable with the brainstorming process as a whole.
INDIVIDUAL IDEA GENERATION
“How might we prevent clutter from forming on top of the dresser?”
NEW WARM-UP GAME
I opened up my session by playing the game where participants name any word and then point to a person at random who then says the first associated word that comes to mind.
For my new game, I combined elements of games that we played in class. I took the random selection element of zip zap zop and applied it to the story spine game. I had participants follow the same prompts we have used:
“once upon a time…”
“and every day…”
“and because of that…”
“and because of that…”
“and ever since that day…”
but rather than go around the circle I had participants point at random to the person that goes next. That way, participants don’t have a way to be planning what they will say ahead of time.
Scheduling was probably one of the most difficult parts of this assignment. It was very difficult to find a time that worked for me as well as four other people. However, after reaching out to more than ten people, I was able to get commitment from these four undergraduate students from the U who I know from various different connections here at the U. I recognized that my group could have more diverse and would have benefitted from having a male presence, non-students, or varying age groups. However, given the time and scheduling limitations, these were the only people I could find who were available to help, who (although could have been more diverse) have moderately diverse backgrounds, skills, and interests.
Katelyn: Junior nursing student from MN who I met in the dorms freshman year.
Anna: Sophomore CLA student from MN who transferred to the U this year from Grand Canyon University, current house-mate.
Steph: Junior nursing student and friend of mine, from Illinois.
Alecia: Junior communications student from MN who transferred to the U this year from Mankato, met through a mutual friend.
The session took place in the basement of my house. This was a pretty central location for everyone, and because this session was held at 7:45 pm it was easier to use this space rather than finding somewhere on campus. We were able to gather around the table and there was plenty of blank wall space to be used during the idea generation portion.
I opened up my session by playing the game where participants name any word and then point to a person at random who then says the first associated word that comes to mind. I followed this game with the new game mentioned above. To my surprise, all of the participants embraced both of these games and participated with enthusiasm. No one seemed overly reserved or intimidated by these activities, rather everyone seemed to enjoy them and found them fun.
Our idea generation session lasted 25 minutes. I began by repeating the prompt, leaving it pulled up on my computer for reference, and explained the guidelines of how the brainstorm session works. I focused on the points of no judgement, we are going for quantity of ideas, and explained the importance of a picture and title on each page. Everyone jumped right in and began coming up with ideas and I was able to participate and add man of the ideas I had sketched in my notebook previously. Some participants waited to get a feel from my input or other group members, but after a few ideas were presented everyone became comfortable with presenting their own. The majority of group members began to slow down around 15 minutes in, so I then introduced the prompt of negative brainstorming as an option for idea inspiration that some participants used for the remainder of the time. Our group produced a total 48 ideas, which translates into 0.4 ideas per minute. I think the reason for having a rather low number of ideas outputted per minute has a lot to do with the fact that the participants did not have any sort of design background or previous knowledge of what a brainstorming session looks like.
SORTING AND VOTING
After the idea generation portion ended, I then instructed my participants to use the open wall space to organize the ideas into groups without talking to one another and I was able to explain to them why this results in naturally forming groups. I then gave them colored stickers; 5 red, 5 blue, 5 yellow. I had the group members put the red stickers on the ideas they thought were the most creative, yellow stickers on the ideas they thought were most feasible, and blue stickers on the ideas that were their favorites overall. They came up with the following categories:
Modifications to Dresser
Organizational Containers on top of Dresser
Ways to Eliminate Problems
Baskets for Dresser
thursday/friday: start idea generation, text/email people and schedule brainstorming session, new game
weekend: finish idea generation, potentially brainstorm session if people are available
monday/tuesday: host brainstorm if people are not available over the weekend, sort and vote, top ideas, work on blog post
wednesday: finish up blog