I began by brainstorming types of games that help with brainstorming:
The game I made up is a version of scattergories. Instead of getting a letter and thinking up words based on different categories, they were to get a category and think up something for each letter of the alphabet. The person with the most original answers was the winner.
The participants were an almost even mix of boys and girls from my floor. Some were from Minnesota and others from different states, and everyone had a different major. They were: Sarah Brewer, Kelvin Wong, Taylor Hilbrant, Kayli Nagle, Haley Christensen, Ryan Mathison, and Brad Prom.
Left to right: Ryan Mathison, Kelvin Wong, and Sarah Brewer
writing down their ideas.
After the game, I gave them my first prompt, which was:
How might we make people feel happier in the winter?
This may have been too vague, because I got a very wide range of answers. Most of them were existing ideas and products.
There were 75 ideas in 10 minutes, making it about 1.07 ideas per person per minute.
I decided the second prompt should get them more focused on seasonal affective disorder:
How might we make a product that helps with seasonal depression?
Brad Prom poses under the wall of ideas.
When they were running out of ideas, I told them to think of the worst ideas possible. They came up with things like "puppy decapitator" and "suicide machine"...simply lovely.
This time, there were 98 ideas in 20 minutes... Making in .7 ideas per person per minute. (The last 5 minutes people were barely writing any because they were "out")
Somehow, they still had off-topic answers like the first one. Most, if not all, were very silly. But that was okay.
I ended up with these categories:
I asked people to vote for their favorite 3 ideas. Then, I selected 10 and made my own sketches.
1st Round - How might we make people happy in the winter?
1.) Sun Cat - Kelvin
2.) Happiness App - Me
3.) Something shiny - Sarah
4.) Winter Calendar with activities/quotes everyday - Me
5.) Fun with winter activities - Sarah
2nd Round - How might we create a product that helps seasonal affective disorder?
6.) Musical cup - Kelvin
7.) Rainbow Machine - Haley
8.) Anti-Depression Ice Cream - Ryan
9.) Sun-shaped vitamin D candy - Me
10.) Fake Sun - Kayli
These weren't in the Top 10 ideas, but they're worth mentioning and discussing:
"Beating everyone else because we rock." (Brad) Though this was meant to be silly, it reminds me of what an interviewee said last week. He wants to feel a sense of accomplishment in the winter. I would like to find ways to make a game out of the product because people will use it more if there is an objective (like beating their friends).
"Summer simulator." (Ryan) This didn't have a sketch with it, and it was much too vague for me to make one for it. But I think if there's a way to simulate summer, whether it's in a location, in your room, or on your screen, that would be helpful.
"Talking to people." (Haley) This isn't a product, but social interaction is really important. Isolation is one of the major symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
The amount of product ideas that came out of this session was disappointingly low, but I did get a pretty good idea of the things that make people happy. I'll find ways to incorporate those things into a product.
[[Edit: The ones without names were mine, so I added "Me" to them.]]