Have you ever felt stuck at a certain point in your design process? Did you ever wish for sudden inspiration? It’s very common for designers to feel stuck with a problem. Although there is no easy way to get inspired immediately, these three exercises can get your brain working to come up with many solutions. The aim is to be open and daring to new ideas and get rid of your fears of being embarrassed if you say something wrong. After all, there are no rights and wrongs during idea creation. So the next time you feel stuck in a design process, gather your team and do these brain exercises to unleash your creativity.
Let’s say you are in jail. You are planning to bail out with the help of a close friend. He’s going to bring you a cake for your birthday and he can fit any tool inside the cake to help you escape. Think of all the tools that fit inside a cake to help you escape and write them on a piece of paper. You have 5 minutes to complete the exercise. When the time is over, everybody drops their pen and lists their tools. Then your team decides who has the biggest chance to escape.
This game helps you and your team to think quickly and come up with creative solutions no matter how crazy they may be. In order to have a successful brainstorming session, it is important that every person feels free to come up with ideas and not worry about whether it is possible to execute it or not. I was introduced to this game in an interaction design class by Irene Pereyra. She is an amazing UX designer and has a design studio in partnership called Anton & Irene. You can follow her on Instagram here: @irenepereyra.
This game is a written down brainstorming session, where the team members are introduced with a problem and each member comes up with a solution. When everyone writes their solution on a piece of paper, they pass the paper to the next person. Inspired by the new solution given to them, each member writes a new idea on the paper and then passes it to the next person.
The good thing about this game is that instead of a traditional brainstorming session, where ideas are shared by shouting once at a time, here, everyone writes down an idea at the same time. So let’s say you have a team of 6 people, so for each idea produced in traditional brainstorming, you get six ideas in parallel brainstorming. This helps every member to come up with quick solutions instead of waiting for each other. In other words, it gets your brain to become faster at creating solutions. This game was taken from the Creative Thinking blog. For examples and a more detailed explanation, check out their page.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH IT?
Pick up a random item and get everyone to come up with ideas about what you could do with it. Let’s say you pick up a pair of earphones, what can you do with it? The first ideas are generally more common solutions, such as listening to music, but as soon as they get exhausted, ideas get more and more creative and may surprise you! Maybe the next person will suggest making a fishing net out of them or use them to hang a painting.
This game is aimed to get each member to open up and gradually produce more and more crazy ideas without thinking about their feasibility. This game was also introduced by Irene Pereyra in her UX class. I found all of these fun exercises very useful to get people to approach new ideas more open-mindedly and get rid of their fears to say the wrong things when coming up with solutions.
So, what methods do you use to pump some creativity into your bloodstream?
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