I’ve been struggling with a project for another GRDS class and trying to find a new way of approaching a design opportunity and was not having any luck. It was perfect timing that I sat down to read the Bootcamp Bootleg material because it helped me try new approaches to not only solving the design problem, but also approaching the problem in new ways. My design opportunity revolves around tying three words together: coffee mug, Freud and wean and up to this point, most of my ideas were fairly expected. After reading the material there were two methods that really helped spark new ideas.
The first method was Prototyping with Empathy that emphasizes discovering not only what you can learn about a product, but also the person who is using it. What I thought most helpful was the step of sitting down with a non-design person in the environment I was designing for and just talking. We went to a coffee shop, got our drinks and just sat down, watched people and talked. I noticed I stopped approaching the opportunity as a project and more as a person who might use it. My friend, the non-designer, had amazing input of what they would enjoy using, what would make sense to them as a person who would never read my design brief, or understand the background of the project. I realized that I was making the solution much more difficult than it needed to be and this reminded me of my theory of “thinking wrong” and how sometimes in design “thinking wrong” can sometimes mean you’re thinking too much. We had a blast sketching on paper and just talking about how one thing may be really cool, and how it would be even cooler if it did this, or that.
After our experience with Prototyping with Empathy, another light bulb went off and I reread the section on Brainstorm Selection and the method of thoughtfully exploring specific brainstorm ideas to develop them further. I used the four-category method to choose which brainstorming ideas to explore that included “ the rational choice, the most likely to delight, the darling, and the long shot.” By exploring this range of ideas, I found myself trying to find a way to merge them together and sketching ways to take an obvious solution, morph it into something the audience will enjoy and is unexpected. I think the benefit of the four-category method is encouraging myself to not limit my design ideas into one particular category. If it fits only into one will it accomplish my mission? And it encouraged me not to ignore an idea just because it may seem “out there.”
As I wrote earlier, I was feeling very stuck on this design opportunity project and after trying the methods outlined in the Bootcamp Bootleg article I discovered ideas that were no where to be found in my original concept. My design opportunity became fun again, opposed to just a project I was trying to finish.