January marks the beginning of our Ideation & Development class. Last quarter we spoke with 15 teens and 4 adult mentors about their experiences with social media and conflict. We met them at school, at home and at work–wherever they felt most comfortable and listened as they shared passion projects, past hurt, and potential future joy. Our conversations and observations led us to develop powerful insights which then guide ideation in the form of design criteria. Design Criteria becomes a jumping off point for ideation or the robust formation of concepts.
- Participation in our design is accessible by all teens.
- Our design positions teens as experts.
- Teens expect to learn something new from our design.
- The content of our design is user generated.
The process began by a collaborative cohort brainstorming session on trends and technology. From there we broke off into our teams and wrote more specific concepts that spoke to the stories we heard from our research participants then we sketched about 100 of those on plain paper with sharpie. We began broad then started to narrow the concepts by evaluating them against our criteria. Not satisfied with the number of ideas or inspired to draw more, we go broad again. This is evaluation and refinement. The process is not linear rather we will go through several rounds before we begin to hone in on one concept.
Our team is made up of 3 parts: Misty Nickle, Philip Koske, and Celine Thibault. We discovered two things through this process. First is that the process feels like running a maze blindfolded. It is extremely ambiguous and you have to rely on your team to bring thoughtful concepts to the table and to be present through important ideation discussions which can be exciting or exhausting or both. The second thing we learned is that our first inclination was to design something digital. We all have rich tactile backgrounds but continued to sketch digital products. We’ve since ideated multiple physical concepts and will share all of our concepts today in class. The concepts will be critiqued and we will begin the refinement process again.
Added bonus: we navigate our ideation discussions by drawing each other’s ideas on the whiteboard. Everyone perceives information differently. To really get a feel for each other’s ideas we write narratives and then illustrate them as a group to form a full picture of what a ‘thing’ could be.
Thanks for following along! We look forward to sharing our journey with you.