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.
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
"Policy to Break up Ice" by Noah Shavit-Lonstein
"Floating Dock Systems" by Claire Warren
"Bubble Maker" by Claire Warren