12 Things I learnt from Methodical Brainstorming
- You cannot just get a good idea in one go.
As much as all of us like to believe, eureka moments don’t come in one go. To solve a problem you need to read it, learn it, understand it, deliberate over it, breathe it, feel it and then leave it, and then come back to it, and then get your good idea.
- If you have a good idea, it will become a great idea with involving a team.
Great solutions is a clockwork of many people working together and not just one person. If nothing better comes of the idea, at least the conviction of a ‘good’ idea will come as you defend what you’re doing and why. If you cannot convince your team about the great big idea, you can never convince the world either.
- Trust the Design Process.
The design process is sometimes slow, boring and annoying process, but you must go through it, in order to come to the final solution. Simple solutions often require complex paths to reach them.
- Lateral thinking is not just about alternatives on the flowchart decision box.
Great ideas can be inspired from anywhere. Be it using psychology, business, history, astrophysics, astrology or even biotechnology. Never be afraid to try new things and new ideas, sometimes the most absurd things connect and it all makes sense.
- Everybody brings something to the table.
Every idea no matter how little a flame adds to the fire. No matter how absurd the contribution, it is often a trigger for other ideas to breed. Teams with diverse backgrounds often come up with more sustainable and public friendly solutions. Every team member is also the user of the final product.
- It is always about having fun.
Let yourself and the team have fun while brainstorming, the jokes can actually lead to great insights to your idea. The bizarreness can often add to the experience of the solution. If nothing else, humour can always ease the pressure, and set off lateral thinking.
- Do not fall in love with your ideas.
Be uncompassionate towards your idea, separate yourself from it and scrutinize it thoroughly. Don’t get your ego involved with it, and be Zen enough to reject it without any malice towards anyone.
- Sleep on it.
When everything fails, take a break and come back for a fresh start. A break allows one to leave all previous notions and emotions and look at your problems with a fresh perspective. It allows time for diffused thinking at the back of your head, where the germs of an idea have already been sown.
- Beyond the looking glass.
While everybody solves the obvious problems, a great idea will also solve the non-obvious problems. The key to non-obvious problems is empathy. Field studies may be boring, but the more time you spent, the more involved you’ll feel at the field. The more empathetic you are, the more diverse aspects your data will look into.
- Be careful not to confuse sympathy with empathy.
Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone, Empathy is feeling the same (exhilaration, pain or anguish) as your user.
- Do not be confined.
Improvise. Don’t define your space for idea generation, or your field for taking inputs or giving outputs, think of your solution as a dynamic shape changing thought that, that only starts taking its form over a period of time and brainstorming. When someone gets you a problem, look at it from all angles, rather than just your favourite field of design. Versatility at this point brings into focus, what your main problem is.
- Be free from bias.
Forget who you are, forget where you came from. Forget your ego. Forget whether you belong to New Delhi or New York. Forget that you’re a male or a female. Forget whether you’re rich or poor. Forget whether you’re physically and mentally abled if the situation demands it. And start looking at users without any preconceptions of your own. Start walking in your users shoes, start becoming them. Only then will you will truly empathise with your user.