Developing Creative Confidence

At silly o’clock on Good Friday morning, we knocked heads. Thank goodness it was a lovely spring day.

One of the traps that is all too easy to fall into is been too narrow or too broad in asking a question, we had fallen into the latter with our third ‘How Might We’ question. The refinement then shifted us to the former before we then found a middle ground. Reviewing your previous decisions, though it sounds tedious, is invaluable as is discussing surprises and learnings. From these brief discussions comes insights that prove useful later, off course you don’t know this when you’re having the discussion. Ignore this process at your peril.

Finally, it was time to ideate. We had to trust that we’d done enough to generate solutions. Turns out that even though you may have solutions already formulated in your mind, it’s easier said than done to translate them into something tangible during the brainstorm session. Someone made an apt observation

I’ve been in lots of brainstorming sessions before but I didn’t realise it has an actual formal structure

This was true for all of us. Brainstorming usually involves people talking over each other, trying to stay within comfortable confines, dismissing anything that may sound a little too far out there and talking down ideas that present too many challenges. Turns out, it should be the exact opposite.

Here we were, able to go wild, the clock started and we fell into collective silence as most of us struggled to think of an idea for our first HMW. Strange, the chains were off but we were mentally chained. When there was scribbling, it was often quickly followed by the screwing up of post-it note.

I really am struggling with this…it’s a lot tougher than I thought it would be

Echoed exactly how we were all feeling. Finally, our first 10 minutes of brainstoming was over. It felt like the longest 10 minutes ever. Before tackling the second HMW, we re-read the guidelines and spoke throughout the allocated time, this made such a huge difference as one persons idea would spark another. When we finished all three, I noticed that or ideas were almost a collection of feature analogs. We were constantly thinking about what was successful in random products and services elsewhere and finding elements that we could add here.

Selecting the most innovative and successful ideas was a challenge for all together different reasons. With limited votes, we had to think wisely as our prototype hung on this decision. Again, we fell into collective silence as we read over and over. We made choices, changed our minds and discussed. Thank the lord for Alex, the non-team member in the room who was excellent at playing devil’s advocate. He provided clarity when we had non, insightful comments that helped us cut the wheat from the chaff and got us back on track when we seemed to be on the merry-go-round. We decided amalgamate some of the ideas because when we really thought about it, two sets of ideas were really saying the same thing just in different ways.

We’d stayed on track time wise until we had to choose which of the ideas to prototype and test. Suddenly, we were unsure about our choices. The were a lot of ‘what ifs’, concerns about ostracising members of the community, at times we fell into designing for people like ourselves rather than people in need. The problem was that we hadn’t actually defined what “people in need” actually meant. Because we’d gone so wide in our interview, we’d neglected to refine back down to the profiles in the challenge. Back on the merry-go-round we went…teens, old people, people who’s first language wasn’t English and so on it went. We eventually stopped where our gut had always been…primary shoppers.

As we discussed the feasibility of our idea, we wondered if we were been too ambitious. Despite the amalgamation, we weren’t confident that it was doable. We momentarily considered other options which didn’t make sense as we all had a preference for what we’d already chosen, doubt is such a pain in the arse. In order to move on, we decided to seperate the two ideas again. It was time to commit

I am putting my hands up to this idea

Yes, someone had the balls to put their stake in the ground. We all followed putting both of hands ups, Kitchen in a Minute was born…phew!

Funny really, once we’d done that the storyboard was so easy, verbalising the actual the words that would be used to engage people, visualising what the setting would look like. I don’t know if it was the relief of making a decision but storyboarding was the easiest process. So much so that one of the team members actually wants run a live test of the idea. For practical reasons, I don’t think this will be a possibility.

In the readings, it advices having a sufficient supply of sugary snacks, take heed, you will need it. We didn’t and were exhausted at the end despite meeting so early and deferring task 6&7 until after the weekend. The sticky back plastic, cardboard and scissors were going to have to wait till after Easter.