Brainstorm Facilitation

This assignment placed me in a leadership role as the facilitator of a brainstorming team. I was excited to work with a group, but I first needed to find group members! By means of Oreos, I recruited several students from a variety of backgrounds and majors. Their interests ranged from political science to mechanical engineering to philosophy.


 I briefly told them about my assignment and personal interest in design, sharing a quote.

"Design in its simplest form is the activity of creating solutions. Design is something that everyone does every day." -Daniel Pink

I wanted the group to feel qualified and comfortable while participating in an activity that might be unfamiliar.

I taught several improvisational warm-up games to get my team excited about brainstorming. We played Red Ball, Bears are Great, Look at Me, and a new game of my own creation. For this game, I had the participants choose a partner. I instructed the pairs to design a living space for a clown, a shark, and an ent to coexist. They had to please their disparate customer base in only five minutes. I periodically bombarded the teams with additional stipulations including an outer space requirement and the necessity of their design to support orchestral performances. I wanted the team members to practice convergent thinking and rapid-fire ideation.


Here are the final clown-shark-ent house designs:


For the main portion of the brainstorm, we focused on my ongoing project theme of thin ice safety. I generalized my problem statements from last week to open more conceptual space for the team. A total of 40 minutes was spent on the prompts "How might we make frozen lakes safer in the winter?" and "How might we save a victim drowning in cold water?". I gave the participants paper and color-coded markers, and they returned a flurry of ideas for me to tape on the wall. The four participants generated 59 ideas with an average of 0.37 ideas per person per minute. At the end of the session, each group member voted for his or her six favorite ideas. Below are ten of the most popular ideas.

"Ice Thickness Indicators" by Claire Warren

1457525_10200860663900909_1646728394_n.jpg"Replace Lake with Olive Oil" by Paul Trisko


"Policy to Break up Ice" by Noah Shavit-Lonstein


"Floating Dock Systems" by Claire Warren


"Hulk Jump" by Noah Shavit-Lonstein


"911/SWAT Hat" by Hannah Mills993434_10200860664860933_2093200612_n.jpg

"Bubble Maker" by Claire Warren

1379712_10200860664780931_555440697_n.jpg"Rebreather and Space Suit" by Paul Trisko


"Ghost-converter Headband" by Hannah Mills644532_10200860664820932_407673834_n.jpg

"Refreeze Ice" by Claire Warren580620_10200860664700929_5267874_n.jpg


I really like that you played a bunch of different games as well as your own instead of just playing the game you made.
The game you created was genius! I'm interested in how you thought of that.

The quote was a wonderful idea. I feel like random students, especially those who don't feel like they're creative, could get intimidated by this. It was a good way to put them at ease.

You may want to try to find a way to edit your photos. I'm pretty sure you can adjust the brightness and contrast easily. It doesn't take too long and they'd look much cleaner!

Other than that, the blog looks really nice! You seem to have done everything the assignment called for.

While the ideas chosen are creative, some aren't feasible. It'll be interesting to see if you get inspired by silly things like "turn into a ghost" to make something that could be a real product.

I think my favorite idea is the floating docks system. You could add things like railings or have a heating feature if someone falls through.

I enjoyed your use of humor when introducing these warm-up activities to the group, as I think that humor is a great way to break the ice and get everyone in a relaxed and comfortable state.

For the game you created, it was funny to make them come up with a living space with such ridiculous stipulations, but I think it might have been a better creativity specific warm-up if you had them design their own ridiculous stipulations. That way you get them thinking out of the box right away. It might have also been nice to have some age diversity in your brainstorm group, however that's not the easiest thing to do as a college student.

I really like the idea of ice thickness indicator, and believe this has some potential to be a useful product innovation if it doesn't already exist!

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