About This Course

This course teaches methods of creative problem solving and ideation, including sketching, drawing, diagramming, and the underlying approaches of abductive thinking and divergent thinking. Students learn how to quickly visualize ideas, iterating through variations, and allowing an idea to evolve quickly and effectively.

Core Concepts and Ideas

This class emphasizes the following main ideas, themes, and concepts:

  • Drawing and sketching as a public activity, in order to foster and facilitate collaborative discussion
  • Diagramming as a method of understanding and synthesizing complicated data, and as a collaborative decision making tool
  • Whiteboarding and group facilitation, for strategic group work and for fostering collaboration across disciplines
  • Rapid Ideation of interaction design solutions, using wireframes and other mid-level fidelity tools

Reading List

Outcomes and Competencies

The following outcome statements articulate the competencies, abilities, and skills a student will have as a result of completing this class. Students will...

  • Be able to quickly visualize ideas through various tools, including analog and digital sketching, rapid physical prototyping, whiteboarding and diagramming
  • Be able to model complicated systems and services through the use of diagrams, and use these diagrams to provoke facilitation and design discussion and rationalization
  • Understand how to communicate through sketching, both in a formal capacity as well as in a real-time, facilitation style
  • Be able to quickly iterate through interface design, using input from real users to inform decisions

Course Schedule

    In Class Out of Class


Mon, 10/27

Introduction to Rapid Ideation and Creative Problem Solving

Concept Mapping

Create Concept map


Wed, 10/29

Scenarios, Use Cases, Wireframes

Concept Map Due

Build Initial Iteration


Mon, 11/3

Think Aloud Protocol

Complete Iteration


Wed, 11/5

Revised Concept Map & Wireframes Due

Build Iteration


Mon, 11/10


Complete Iteration


Wed, 11/12

Revised Concept Map, Testing, & Wireframes Due

Build Iteration


Mon, 11/17

Process Flow Diagramming

Guest: Drew Miller, Creative Director

Complete Iteration


Wed, 11/19

Iteration Due

Build Iteration


Mon, 11/24

Work Session

Guest: Tim Paciolla, Product Manager

Continue Iteration


Wed, 11/26

No Class – Thanksgiving

Continue Iteration


Mon, 12/1

Visual Design Fundamentals

Guest: Becca Franks, Visual Designer

Complete Iteration


Wed, 12/3

Iteration Due

Build Iteration


Mon, 12/8

Work Session

Guest: Joannie Wu, Visual Designer

Complete Iteration


Wed, 12/10

Iteration Due


Mon, 12/15

Work Session

Complete Iteration


Wed, 12/17

Iteration Due