Ideating Services For Families Who Need Them

This week Ana and I continued to push our research around non-traditional families towards developing concepts for products. Our task this week was to generate 200 design concepts for products and services that could actually see the light of day to help the humans we spoke with. It was a large task, and as this is our first time doing this, it proved difficult but a beneficial exercise! We were told volume is key for this assignment. Amidst this mass of ideas we’ve generated, we feel we can relate to the phrase “There’s gold in them thar hills”.


We struggled to navigate through our research initially, as being a parent and having a child is such a personal journey. A parent is to provide encouragement, support, and access to their child to develop into the best version of themselves. A parent is a child’s first teacher, and ideally, their best. We listened to the words of the parents we spoke with as best we could. Recalling thought provoking moments around prioritizing their child’s well being over their own. We also reflected on tears we witnessed during interviews talking about health issues their child faced, in turn affecting the whole family.

Through revisiting our initial breakdown of the data and artifacts we had collected and created we were able to start chipping away at some initial ideas. We pushed the conversations we had to the brink. Through reframing, insight combination, and iterating on things we had heard things began to come to light. Through these processes we began to generate ideas for products to be.

Our Method

Deriving information from our interviews, some of our design ideas were truly off the wall.  We found reframing to be our most preferred method of ideation, as we were able to imagine our participants in different environments, looked at them from new perspectives, and what they embodied in scenarios unknown.

We’ll start with, a daycare, for example, in a new environment, say a prison! (Note that there are no criticisms in ideation!) Primary user goal; to provide respite for prison/state employees. Implications and insights

Reframing forced a shift in our semantic perspective around all parts of our research. This was so helpful and made us think quickly. At some point we started to feel like we were watching paint dry looking at our existing data, it was exciting to get new ideas on the wall. Neither Ana and I are parents, and at times it’s been difficult to communicate our research to others that think we’re covering well explored territory. There’s always room for more.

Insight combination was another method of ideation that we ultimately struggled with. As a team of two, we possessed a body of data that reflects our team size. We felt that under our timeline amidst juggling other projects we weren’t able to experiment in this part of the process as much. Through asking why, we found our wheels spinning in reflection to our dataset. Insight combination also took quite more time than reframing. We gave it our best go, but ultimately found it more helpful for revisiting and fine tuning insights. Throughout these two processes, and generating useful thoughts from our ideas that sums up how we got our vast set of design concepts.

Why So Many Design Concepts?

I found that through exhausting all sorts of avenues of possible products or services the ideas that mattered stood out that much more. The viable design ideas are the gold in our hill of ideas. It’s evident that in certain facets of product and service design this rapid, exhaustive ideation process does not happen. Companies carry themselves far down the line of developing (and in some cases creating) a product without understanding and investigating their user as deeply as they should. Although certain things sell, their life expectancy isn’t very long. Take bottled clean air  for example. Bottle it, market it, sell it, and then have the residual waste last for years on end. While we may not be able to actually implement our hotel/resort that is ran by children for children, we sure do see value in providing a free food delivery service for SNAP users.

Next Steps

In the coming week we’ll be trimming the fat off our design concepts. We hope to bring in our classmate and others to see which ideas stick or sound the most useful. With this set of “gold” we’ll be able to develop and visualize the ideas further and test them as best we can. We look forward to feedback, developing a pitch of sorts and starting to create something that could maybe be ready to market. We’re excited going forward as the quarter continues on. It’s exciting to be in this phase of AC4D. Designing products that are made to better humankind. We hope to create something that can save future families from stress and suffering.