Join Turi McKinley for an in-depth discussion in this video Concepting, part of Design Thinking: Lead Change in Your Organization.
- In synthesis, the team will have identified promising opportunity areas which represent a human need and an opportunity for the business. However, a strong need and a viable opportunity for the business can still result in run-of-the-mill ideas or me-too solutions that are just copying what others are doing. Fresh, new ideas are hard to come by through everyday thinking and conversation, and people need ways to generate new ideas. Many of the concept generation tools that Frog uses are based on the concept of lateral thinking, a term coined by psychologist Edward de Bono.
It's an approach to creativity that pushes us to look at something familiar in a new way by introducing stimuli that disrupt the way we normally think about the problem or the solutions. During concept generation, teams use these methods to produce as many ideas as possible. After idea generation, teams evaluate and select the best ideas. Those with the most potential and value are evolved and visualized to a higher level of fidelity in order to extend the idea.
The next steps might then be to get feedback from people who might use the product, or do deeper feature definition to determine how it will work for the business, or any number of other steps, depending on where the team is in the development cycle. For example, our healthcare team recently conducted research with elders seeking to stay in their homes longer. Using their research insights as a framework, the team created a concepting workshop with activities that encouraged lateral thinking. The first concept pass generated over 70 ideas.
Some were quite rich, and others were good seed ideas, but needed work. When their creativity dropped, the team organized an open session for the whole studio, and generated more ideas with all these new perspectives at the table. This whole collection of ideas were then sorted and clustered into about 47 meta concepts, which the team evaluated based on how well they met the user needs framework, and the technical and market feasibility.
At the end, they selected about 18 ideas for further development. These 18 ideas will be taken back out into the field to share with elders and be refined. To see a full concept iteration in action, watch it at the link below. Concepting uses some structured activities, time boxing, and frequent idea remixing, to enable teams with different perspectives to quickly iterate on each other's ideas.
There are a few considerations common to many concepting activities that I'd like you to keep in mind. The first is delaying judgement. When you're creating ideas, explicitly delay judgement. It's crucial to enable you to achieve a breadth of ideas. You don't want the team to dive in too deep to any one idea, or focus on what they can't do, instead of getting to those great "what if" moments. This structured approach is different from open brainstorming, where lots of ideas are thrown out in the hopes that a diamond will emerge.
You also need a supportive culture, where people feel safe to put forth any idea without fearing critique. It's kind of similar to delaying judgement, but what you want to do here is really encourage this "yes, and" attitude towards building on others' ideas. The third thing is visual thinking or making things tangible, manifesting ideas in some way through sketches, prototypes, performances, or diagrams, or almost any other kind of representation, helps the team quickly absorb and respond to rough ideas.
Concepting should always have a tangible element, and if you're finding that your teams are reluctant to draw, or to perform something, really push this when you facilitate these activities. The concepting phase is meant to give the team enough time and runway to go from the expected, to the unexpected and ridiculous, to the unexpected and appropriate. Getting to appropriate means that worthwhile concepts need to be compelling, valuable, and innovative, and feasible and profitable for the business, or sustainable for the community.
The course opens with a definition of design thinking, including the roles and spaces required for success. You will then learn how to be a good design thinking leader, with specific advice on topics from setting goals to engaging the different skill sets and personalities in the room (introverts and extroverts alike). Next, Turi dives into creative collaboration: the heart of design thinking. She covers planning, research, and concept creation, and explains how to create a "service blueprint" that will help make the design a reality. Chapter 4 introduces prototyping techniques to advance the design.
Design thinking is all about collaboration so we've integrated a LinkedIn Group called "Design Thinking: frog + Lynda.com course." Throughout the course, the author will suggest opportunities for you to share what you're learning. You'll be able to participate in course-related discussions through your web browser at https://linkedin.com/groups/7022790 or via the LinkedIn Groups app, which is available for most smartphones. This is a great way to expand your learning and get additional insights from other members taking the course.
- Defining design thinking
- Implementing a design thinking mindset and approach
- Leading design thinking
- Aligning the design team
- Managing creative flow
- Guiding collaboration
- Generating hypothesis
- Prototyping fast and often
- Making a culture change