Tools for ideation and problem solving: Part 1

Tools for ideation and problem solving: Part 1 by Dan Lockton.

From the post:

Back in the darkest days of my PhD, I started blogging extracts from the thesis as it was being written, particularly the literature review. It helped keep me motivated when I was at a very low point, and seemed to be of interest to readers who were unlikely to read the whole 300-page PDF or indeed the publications. Possibly because of the amount of useful terms in the text making them very Google-able, these remain extremely popular posts on this blog. So I thought I would continue, not quite where I left off, but with a few extracts that might actually be of practical use to people working on design, new ideas, and understanding people’s behaviour.

The first article (to be split over two parts) is about toolkits (and similar things, starting with an exploration of idea generation methods), prompted by much recent interest in the subject via projects such as Lucy Kimbell, Guy Julier, Jocelyn Bailey and Leah Armstrong’s Mapping Social Design Research & Practice and Nesta’s Development Impact & You toolkit, and some of our discussions at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for the Creative Citizens project about different formats for summarising information effectively. (On this last point, I should mention the Sustainable Cultures Engagement Toolkit developed in 2012-13 by my colleagues Catherine Greene and Lottie Crumbleholme, with Johnson Controls, which is now available online (12.5MB PDF).)

The article below is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the field, but was focused specifically on aspects which I felt were relevant for a ‘design for behaviour change’ toolkit, which became Design with Intent. I should also note that since the below was written, mostly in 2010-11, a number of very useful articles have collected together toolkits, card decks and similar things. I recommend: Venessa Miemis’s 21 Card Decks, Hanna Zoon’s Depository of Design Toolboxes, Joanna Choukeir’s Design Methods Resources, Stephen Anderson’s answer on this Quora thread, and Ola Möller’s 40 Decks of Method Cards for Creativity. I’m sure there are others.

Great post but best read when you have time to follow links and to muse about what you are reading.

I think the bicycle with square wheels was the best example in part 1. Which example do you like best? (Yes, I am teasing you into reading the post.)

Having a variety of problem solving/design skills will enable you to work with groups that respond to different problem solving strategies.

Important in eliciting designs for topic maps as users don’t ever talk about implied semantics known by everyone.

Unfortunately, our machines not being people, don’t know what everyone else knows, they know only what they are told.

I first saw this in Nat Torkington’s Four short links: 23 April 2014.

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