Ideation Process Blog

Summary

For this sprint, I focused on generating ideas about reducing vehicle congestion in cities and reducing greenhouse gas emission, since these are big issues in Seattle. To come up with ten divergent ideas, I used different frames and limitations. For example, for some ideas, I only thought about sustainable or renewable energy sources, and for others I thought about ways to modify existing transportation systems to make them more eco-friendly and efficient. Using these different limitations narrowed down the broad scope of the design challenge, allowing me to come up with more ideas. I based my convergent ideas on my initial most promising divergent idea, a method to keep standstill traffic moving during rush hour. I chose this idea because as a Seattle commuter myself, I felt that this was an important issue that could benefit from improved technology. Using personal experience from being stuck in traffic, observing the movement of cars, and thinking about different mobility ideas, I came up with ten convergent ideas about how cars could be kept moving during traffic. All of my ideas were done in low-fidelity sketches with labels, in order to express my complex ideas in a simple manner.

Divergent sketch brainstorming (left); Observing the movement of cars to generate different ideas of mobility (right)

Reflection

I liked the technique of ideation through sketching this week. I enjoyed being able to get as many ideas onto the page as possible using low-fidelity sketches, since the emphasis was not on the quality of the sketch but on the generation of ideas. I felt like this was a very valuable experience, because many other designers and engineers in the HCDE industry go through a similar process of rapid, low-fidelity ideation as well as divergence and convergence, in order to arrive at the overall most promising idea. I also enjoyed applying the accompanying strategies of ideation, such as trying not to erase, using storyboards, and using constraints for ideation. I felt that these strategies further focused and boosted my generation of ideas, especially in the more broad divergence stage.

Future Applications

I can see myself applying the technique of ideation through sketching in the future when practicing graphic design. Rapid ideation is highly encouraged and emphasized in graphic design as well as in HCDE, so I can see myself further practicing this skill in the initial stages of ideation for promotional media, logo design, and other design. I would also like to apply the concept of divergence and convergence more in my future work. Before this week, I already understood the value of brainstorming as many ideas as possible during ideation, but this sprint showed me the value of then varying the best initial idea to find the ultimately best option. Because I’m working on the rebranding of Chinese Student Association as well as promotional posters for events, I will use the concept of divergence and convergence to help me effectively ideate by brainstorming then varying ideas.

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