Fortunately for me I live in a world of creative people, so when I propositioned my friends to come to a brainstorming session that I was hosting there was a resounding cry of 'yes'!
I had six people originally confirm their attendance to my brainstorming session, I only added fresh pie as a sweetener to the deal. I had three architects, a musician, a graphic designer/salesperson, and an English student. We are all creative individuals, with different passions and daily lives. We were all hat wearers, and some of us had distinct problems with hats.
And then the day of brainstorm comes, and goes, without anyone showing up... I played out my frustrations into a plate of corned beef hash instead.
The rescheduled session for Sunday night went much better, I had some people not make it, but a quick invite to our painter of a neighbor meant that our numbers were back to five.
I took my problem statements from last round and converted them into how might we statements. 'Caitlin, an avid cyclist, needs a way to keep her head warm while biking because hats don't fit underneath her helmet, and hoods fly off when she is biking' became 'how might we keep our heads warm while biking?' My second identified problem "Anna needs a way to keep her head warm while dealing with any hairstyle she might have, because her current selection of headgear doesn't fit with her hair" became 'how might we keep our head warm without mussing our hair?'
During the session, we warmed up by first dancing to a little Kanye West, and then some Lorde. As a group we have slightly eclectic tastes. Getting down to business, we started with a bad ideas round. We came up with some truly horrible hats. My favorites being a giant hand that squeezes your head until your brains begin to leak, and a hat made out of the best magnet in the world, so large metal objects would just begin to fly towards your head.
For the next round we tackled the first of the problem statements, asking the group how might we keep our heads warm while biking. The ideas were fairly standard, and quickly divulged from keeping our heads warm to just hats that might be useful while biking. Sherpa lined helmets, hats that read off your text messages to you, hats with built in windshields dominated this round.
During the ethnography assignment I was critiqued for not addressing the concerns of people outside of the young adult demographic, whether they be children or senior citizens.
We looked at the possible needs of senior citizen first, and the ideas were almost all extremely silly. Our brainstorming was kind of based on our pre conceived notions of what being a senior citizen is like, missing your absent children, struck with nostalgia, infeeble, etc...
I think we a better job at coming up with ideas for hats for children. I talked to some parents I met in Nordeast. They voiced concerns with being able to keep hats on their children, often the kids, especially toddlers don't want to wear the hats, and will take them off. We mostly though that if wearing a hat could become more fun, then maybe a kid would wear it without complaint. Lots of animals in this round, and a few hats that moved in the wind or reacted to the wearers movements.
Lastly, we talked about the second how might we statement. We came up with ideas for hats that don't interfere with hairstyle, or accommodate certain hair styles. One of our members voiced concern that her hats alway slipped off her hair, because it was so smooth. Velcro hats, expanding hats, hats made of hair, all different sorts of interesting ideas came forth.
We silently sorted the ideas on the wall. Arranging categories that we could reason through easily.
The final groupings were: Animals and Hats, Hats and technology, Nostalgia in Hats, Hats that Harm, Food Hats, Sensory Experience Hats, Helmet Hats and Hats that Expand or Change Shape. We voted on the ideas on the board and our favorites emerged as following: