A Bug’s Life — Our brainstorming process

It all started with our DEI 613 — Design Principles 1 — class. We had to choose a film and a community/audience that’s depicted in that film to design a product for them. After a lot of debate with my team, and some suggestions of movies being thrown in the discussion occasionally, we eventually chose to work on “A Bug’s Life”. Subsequently, we decided to focus on the main population of the film, which is the colony of ants. After watching it individually, we came together and watched it one more time as a team, while also taking notes. Before that, we had agreed on the sacrificial concepts we were going to use, as a method to dive deeper into the world of the ants.

Brainstorming on our sacrificial concept.

After deciding what our sacrificial concepts would be, we wrote them on the glass walls and started watching the movie. We had agreed on taking notes while we were watching the movie, so everyone would have a marker and note their thoughts as points under the sacrificial concepts. Eventually, we came up with a big list of points, which we started discussing about after the movie was over. We used our sacrificial concepts to gain a better understanding of the world and confirm assumptions. In the end, we came up with four rules of our world, which can be seen in the image below.


In short, our 4 rules are the following:

  1. Integration in the ant society can be achieved by exchanging something valuable.
  2. The society is a collective one, with a matriarchal lineage.
  3. Ants are very resourceful with objects they find and can adapt them to their own needs.
  4. Their main needs are physiological/survival.

In our next meeting, we had to use these rules and brainstorm about possible products or solutions to any potential problems we identified. We started writing our ideas on the walls.

Brainstorming about products.

We eventually came up with 23 concepts/ideas for products or experiences. Now it was time to question our ideas and write some valid thoughts or points about them, as we can see below. We started describing what we thought these ideas could be and also what are potential obstacles or constraints we could face when trying to design them for the ants.

Elaborating on our ideas.
Our points and thoughts.

After this necessary process of reflection and questioning, we narrowed down our choices to end up with a handful of suggestions that we could choose from.

Trying to narrow our choices down.

After much thought and debate, we came up with the 6 possible ideas of products that we could choose from in order to design something for the ants.

Final choices.

And these are our final choices of products:

  • A shelter from the rain.
  • Food transportation device or mechanism.
  • Water Management System.
  • Camouflage uniform or device.
  • Flying machine for transportation.
  • Another transportation device.
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