I began by revising my old problem statements to become more general and open-ended:
P1: Viktor needs a way to keep his hands warm in the winter while maintaining dexterity with his hands because he has trouble using his phone and iPod with his current, bulky gloves.
P2: Erin needs a weatherproof way to look professional while keeping her hands warm because she is a is looking to get hired professionally and encounters all sorts of elements on her commute.
I then turned these in to "How Might We...?" statements:
HMW1: How might we maximize dexterity while keeping our hands warm?
HMW2: How might we make professional looking glove that aids in the daily commute and business work?
Next, I assembled a crack team of brainstormers to assist me in the creative process. They were super excited to help out.
Due to personal time constraints, I wasn't able to gather a vastly diverse group but they came from different enough backgrounds (all involving cold weather at some point):
Viktor - College sophomore planning to major in kinesiology. He has lived most of his life in Sweden but has also spent years living in various parts of Asia.
Andrew - Senior undergrad here at the UofM, planning to graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering. Andrew has lived in Minnesota his entire life.
Danny - Senior undergrad in sports management. Danny grew up in Calgary, CA and attended high school in northern Wisc.
Ken - Graduated with a degree in marketing last year and currently works for 3M in aerospace adhesives.
George (not pictured) - High school senior planning to attend college in North Dakota and study Aerospace engineering.
To get everyone warmed up and in a fun and creative mindset, I had them play I game I invented called The Game of Artistic Addition. For this game, everyone started out with a blank sheet of paper. Initially they were told to draw a random line or series of lines on the paper in no particular pattern, they then passed their sheet to the person to their right. They were then given 1 min to add to this drawing and turn it into a person or living creature. At the end of the min, they again passed the sheets on and were given another min to draw, this time thy had to have to person/creature holding/carrying an object. They repeated this process multiple times, each time adding something from a different theme that I'd make up; doing an action, saying something, showing an emotion, etc...
This game did 3 important things:
For 25 min on each "How Might We...?" question, I had the participants sketch down product ideas. The time was divided up as follows: 8 min standard idea generation (things they may have been thinking about before coming in), 4 min bad idea generation (to get thinking in new a direction), 5 min silly idea generation, and finally 8 min of more serious ideas.
Then, for the last 10 min, we did a silent categorization of the ideas. They organized them into phone-related products, devices that warm up electronically, gloves that move, etc...
Throughout the session, to keep thinks light, I played some fun, upbeat background music which also kept people stimulated:
When this portion was complete, I calculated the group to a an average IPM of about 0.8, with the first round averaging about .7 and the second round averaging .9. I had them each vote for their top 10 favorites in each category and found the most popular Ideas.
Top 5 for "rofessional looking protection from the elements for our hands":