Assignment 4



I recruited a great and diverse crew to help me come up with ideas!

As a reminder, my sub-theme is fireplaces.

My two "How might we..." statements are:

  1. How might we make gas fireplaces more interactive?
  2. How might we utilize waste heat from fireplaces?


I used a lot of Barry's material, to give them a background on the creative process and how play, creativity, and brainstorming are linked to innovation and idea generation. I gave them a few examples of silly ideas, cross products, etc.

We played three different improv games! First, Zip Zap Zop. It got everyones blood flowing and started breaking the ice.

4.jpgZip Zap Zop

The second game we played was Look at Me.

9.jpgLook at Me

The third game, was a variation of Look at Me. The first person would start with a motion and say the normal Look at Me line. The next person would have to say another Look at me, that was relevant to the previous motion, but they would have to come up with a new motion. Example: "Look at me, I'm pounding on a door..." (Person pounding on a door). Next person: "Look at me, I'm hammering a nail..." (Person changes their motion to pounding a nail on a table) It was quite interesting to see how quickly they could free associate and come up with a new motion and a new "Look at me...".

11.jpgLook at me, modified

How might we make gas fireplaces more interactive?

12.jpgFirst Prompt

We got right to it! I had them go for 25 minutes on the first prompt. I introduced a few enhancers. Rolestorming, random words, and reverse brainstorming along the way. As well as dark chocolate.

This resulted in 85 ideas in 25 minutes. About .7 ideas per minute per person.

15.jpgFirst Prompt

Here are top 5 ideas for prompt 1, as voted on by the group:

How might we make gas fireplaces more interactive?






Honorable Mentions for this category include:




The top 5 ideas for prompt 2, as voted by the group:

How might we utilize waste heat from fireplaces?






Honorable Mentions:


The second brainstorm was not as bountiful as the first. This may have been a function of time of day (we started the brainstorm pretty late, around 7:30 PM), a lack of inspiration, or just simple exhaustion.

The ideas per minute on the second prompt was 0.4. Much lower than the first brainstorm.


I talked with one of the participants the following day and after reflection he felt his formal, left brain training (B.S. in Physics, PhD in Physics and Statistics, 5 years in Investment Banking, and 2 years in the military) has left him incapable of generating "non-practical" ideas. He said he found it difficult to generate new ideas. I ensured that with practice (like any muscle) this could be worked back into his tool set.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the brainstorm and I think some interesting ideas were born as a result!


First of all, your documentation image-wise of the games and brainstorming session were great. I appreciated seeing what the session looked like, what type of environment it was in, etc. You mentioned at the beginning of your post that you had a diverse group of people for your session, but I didn't see much of an explanation as to what their specific backgrounds were, which could have been interesting. That being said, I liked your observation at the end about the left-brain thinker and how they struggled with an activity like this. I agree, it's definitely something that gets better with practice. Nit-picky I know, but the image quality could be better (folded out completely flat, not showing background if possible, try to limit shadowing). Another thing that could have helped the images is if you would have had the participants use less text and draw more if necessary, as it gets hard to visualize the ideas quickly otherwise. But I had a hard time with this too as most people don't like to draw, especially if they don't think they are very good at it. Overall, a really good post and I look forward to seeing how your ideas develop in the next few blog posts.

Nicely documented! It's great that you were able to get a nice diverse group. Did you talk to any of the others about how their backgrounds affected the brainstorming (or their perception of it)?

The biggest area for improvement would be scanning the sketches rather than photos, as they would look really good that way (though they are pretty good as is)

One other comment I have is that I think your improve game you created isn't ideal, in that it doesn't seem like it would create much building on ideas of others... Could you have done anything to connect each person's new idea to the last person's?

Nice work though!

Your post is supported well through an equal amount of text and images. I agree with the other comment when they said that laying out your paper flat when taking a picture. Or better yet, scanning the image. You are less likely to get the shadow crease in the center if you scan it.

I thought when you included the observation section at the end and commented on how your friend thought his left-brain training left him " incapable of generating "non-practical" ideas" was a very interesting observation. Including someone in your session who struggles with ideation probably gave your brainstorming session a broader view.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by dunba043 published on November 18, 2013 12:33 AM.

Assignment 3 was the previous entry in this blog.

Assignment 5 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Powered by Movable Type 4.31-en