A design thinking process generally consists of five phases namely- Empathise, Design, Ideate, Prototype and Test. Each phase plays a significant role, but the ideate phase is the essence of the entire process. It is very important for you to generate ideas while working on a design. This is exactly why you need to raise your level in the ideate phase of design thinking. This article is about the Brainstorming method for professional designing, which will acquaint you with some innovative steps to produce creative ideas professionally.
Brainstorming method used for professional designing, was first coined by Alex F. Osborn in 1942, in his book, ‘How to think up’. You can use this method to aggregate ideas from every aspect. Brainstorming involves discussions, followed by techniques like stepladder, bug list, etc. At the end of every discussion, you can ask everyone to write their ideas over the design anonymously. No criticism is allowed about any suggestion. A simple voting takes place after the discussions to opt out the best idea. Let’s take a look over some specifications of this process, which is used in the ideate phase in design thinking.
Following are some general rules of Brainstorming method for professional designing. The intention of following these rules is to defer judgement and reach for quantity during a brainstorming session.
1. Emphasis on quantity
This rule states that your discussion must aim to produce quantity. More the quantity of your ideas, more will be your chances of producing an effective idea. Every suggestion from the session is equally important. So, you must take it all into notice for successful completion of the further steps to produce creative ideas professionally.
2. Uphold the criticism
This rule states the literal prohibition of criticism, while in the session. The total emphasis of your discussion should be to create ideas without a being judgemental. Your criticism can be reserved for the further phases to provide necessary improvements, after the ideate phase in design thinking is over.
3. Encourage wild ideas
If you want better ideas developed from out-of-the-box thinking, then welcome those wild ideas. This rule sums up both the rules mentioned above. Your discussion must aim at a quantitative approach. Let no one feel fear, shame, or get criticized for absurd ideas to continue the ideate phase in design thinking.
4. Combine and improve ideas
The most important aspect of your team discussion is team spirit. Your discussion shall be completed with a sense of teamwork. Every participant should combine their ideas with others, in order to get good results in the further steps to produce creative ideas professionally.
TYPES OF BRAINSTORMING METHOD FOR PROFESSIONAL DESIGNING
There are many types of Brainstorming sessions, that be used in accordance with your needs. The correct type of brainstorming method for professional designing can be selected after considering the pros and cons of each.
1. Nominal group technique
This is the most common type of brainstorming session. It involves discussion with a trained facilitator heading over it. At the end, you shall collect everyone’s ideas and then your group votes on every idea. The described process is known as distillation. Although, it doesn’t mean that this process ends here. You can also send your top ranked ideas to a different group to observe them from a different aspect before proceeding to the further steps to produce creative ideas professionally.
2. Group passing technique
The group passing technique involves each person in your group to write an idea on a piece of paper. Then they are required to pass it to the next teammate to add their thoughts in the ideate phase in design thinking. The process continues until everyone gets the original piece of paper back. You can also use an idea book instead of a paper. You can add new ideas or simply log suggestions in the ideas of the latter one. Then, you must arrange a read out meeting to discuss the ideas logged in the book.
3. Team idea mapping technique
As given in the name, you can only use this method with an association of participants. Begin this process by defining the topic to everyone. Then, each participant in your group brainstorms individually and all of your ideas are formed into a large idea map. After the brainstorming session, a consolidation phase takes place, in which every participant shares their meaning behind their idea. This allows the phase to develop a common understanding between you and the other participants. During this sharing, new ideas may arise and are added to the map for you to work upon in the further steps to produce creative ideas professionally.
4. Guided Brainstorming technique
The guided brainstorming involves a brainstorming session by you, either individually or as a collective group. You shall complete it in a given short duration of time. You and your teammates are asked to adopt a given mindset assigned to everyone. Then, you must present your views and add some ideas over the mind map drawn in the earlier phase of the process. This provides you a multi-perspective point of view over the design brief and even some improvements, that can be figured out in the ideate phase in design thinking.
5. Question Brainstorming
Also known as Questorming, this method is radically different from other brainstorming methods. Rather than coming up with immediate ideas and answers, the main emphasis is put on brainstorming your questions in a large quantity. No participation is needed in this method, as there is no need for the answers. You are only required to produce a list of questions. Your questions are then prioritized to reach up to the best solution or idea for your design. The answer of your questions are discovered in the further steps to produce creative ideas professionally.
These are some rules and methods for you to practice brainstorming method for professional designing. If you want to know about more design thinking processes, read our blog: ‘10 designing methodologies for creative conceptualisation of ideas’.