- Step 1: Organize your ideas
- Step 2: Explore variations
- Step 3: Bring key ideas to life
- Step 4: Get feedback & revise
- Group idea sketching?
- Try it now
- Additional Resources
What is this for? Ever misinterpret an idea from a teammate or leader? It's frustrating and costly. This approach encourages visual communication to eliminate those situations. It's a clearer more effective way to communicate and faster in the long-run too. Mindset and core principles Most importantly, you need to try getting visual. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. *Don't worry, you do not have to be a creative artist! Every person is capable, we just lack creative confidence.
Step 1: Organize your ideas
The goal here is to get started and find a catalyst to help ideas start to form. You can start with a small idea you already have or some existing notes or keywords. Here are some ways to do this step:
- Set a timer for this step (e.g. 10 mins)
- Reflect back on notes, customer insights, goals, and other inspiring project items
- Write some notes to start to organize your thoughts and information.
- "Highlight" or choose the things that stand out most to you on your page of notes. Things that could be key for ideas and solutions. Don't worry about if it's right. Just make your findings more useful to pull from.
- Try and use some type of visual representation - arrows, icons, etc.
Step 2: Explore variations
Now, you really just want to start "trying things on" (no need to share these!). Start pulling highlighted pieces of information from your notes and turn them into opportunities that solve the initiatives problems. Use visuals... and if helpful, words.
Keep going! Take those components and put them together in new and different ways. Bend, Blend, and Break some of your early ideas to generate new ones.
Here are some additional prompts to help you explore more quickly When you think you're got it all:
- Set a timer again to give the activity some boundaries (you can always extend it if you need more time)
- Start scribbling and making your ideas and thoughts visual
- Scribble multiple ideas, and variations of ideas
- Get weird! Take an idea and do something unexpected to it.
- Think of how ______ would accomplish your challenge. What would it actually look like? (e.g. Disney, Apple, Amazon)
- Think of the experience that people would have with it. It's not just a solution, it's experienced from beginning-end.
Step 3: Bring key ideas to life
Look back at your "exploration". What stood out to you? How can you bring it into a single idea, a bigger concept, or a storyboarded experience? Be more selective.
There are a lot of ways to bring an idea to life. For example:
- A concept sketch or poster
- A slide with icons, shapes, images, and text
- Role-Play. Act it out!
- Make it tangible. Find existing objects or craft things together
It's never a bad idea to create more than one sketch and it's never too early to get feedback or iterate.
Step 4: Get feedback & revise
You're now equipped to learn! You can take these ideas (or prototypes!) and bring them to others for input, experimentation, or test.
- Take your sketch to a couple of people for feedback
- Tell them you're "trying to find holes" in the idea (when you tell people you want "feedback" they usually feel nervous to say anything negative)
- Try not to "explain" the idea too much but let them read and look at your sketch
- Get them to ask you questions (their questions will tell you a lot about your idea)
- Write notes to collect the feedback
- Do a quick revision of your sketch: What would you add, remove, change to make it more clear, more valuable, more convincing?
Group idea sketching?
This activity can be done solo, but it's even more powerful when multiple people sketch different ideas to solve the same challenge. You can try doing a sketch yourself first. And try running with 3-5 others when you need to come up with ideas for a team or project!
Try it now
- The "Rapid Prototyping" Mindset
- Prototyping 101
- Runaway Species: How human creativity remakes the world, by Eagleman and Brandt
- Creative Brain, David Eagleman | Netflix Documentary (Trailer)
- Creative Confidence, by David Kelley
- Experimentation, MBM
- Innovating for People Handbook - See "Making" section
- The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design, by IDEO.org p.101-103
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