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Navigating complexity

Augmented Ideation

Experiment with Digital Methods to boost participatory design sessions

The context

Generating new ideas is a critical step in every project. Design teams may get stuck continuously iterating on the same metodological frameworks, such as personas or journey maps, and generate ideas only as solutions to specific needs or pain points. Sometimes also bringing onboard external innovation and design experts (who can trigger different thoughts) becomes challenging because they may not be enough familiar with the specific context of intervention, and getting them up to speed takes time.

Suggested approach

Digital Methods can be used to augment the ideation capabilities of a team by quickly collecting stimuli in the online field, and use them to inject fresh energies and inspirations during co-design sessions. For example, online traces left by users online (such as images, comments or hashtag) can be extracted using free APIs and opensource tools, and turned into visual moodboards or maps that can facilitate a quick immersion or reflection upon a topic, and help the team considering aspects that were not under their radar in that moment. Lateral thinking techniques can be empowered by Digital Methods, leveraging large sets of data as a resource to generate random entries, provocation statements and sorting exercises.

Value added

Using automatic systems to generate stimuli for ideation sessions allows to come up with new connections or unknown references to elaborate upon, including things nobody have thought of before. In addition to that, it can help save time while preparing ideation activities, giving the opportunity to run interesting exercises even without investing long time in preparing and harvesting all the materials needed.

Thinking ahead

We expect these type of automatized techniques to become more and more common in the future, helping designers include a broader set of information into their creative process and increase their ability to come up with interesting ideas. Digital Methods can play a role in this transition, empowering both research and ideation activities. Some of the mentioned exercises are collected in the website, based on the work of our friend and fellow Giacomo Flaim.

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