BBD - Ideation

I’m going to be making projects and working with TMOT to design a curriculum for their Better
By Design program — a course to build design thinking skills in children and
inspire them to be innovators.

All posts about BBD -

In the last 2 posts, I talked about things I made. In this one, I’m talking
about how ideation works.

Credits — For this image and all B&Ws below: Noun Project

I started out with the goal to make inventions for the lazy. Here is the purpose
of creating these inventions, Steve Jobs style :P

The first thing I had to do was identify the problem I was solving — innovating
for. To do this, I went over my usual day — mornings, afternoons, evenings; At
home, school, or when I’m out — I tried to see where I was annoyed by the work
that had to be done, and in just 5 minutes, I came up with all these problems —

At Places

At times

You probably can’t understand my handwriting, so I’ll take you over the template
I used to write down the problems —

— — — I know it’s not much, but still it’s too much work to — — —

Examples —

  • In the morning, I know it’s not much, but still it’s too much work to wake

  • When I’m out, I know it’s not much, but still it’s too much work to use
    google maps

These 2 examples are actually the problems I tried to tackle, and find solutions

While looking for solutions, I followed just 3 suggestions given to me by BBD

  • Aim for number of ideas, and don’t think about how “good” an idea is.
  • Be crazy, and silly about ideas — what might be silly now may be a perfectly
    viable and fun solution.
  • Don’t worry of the workings and details of the solution when ideating.

Here’s are images of the ideation I had for solutions for the big issue of
waking up -

Note — khelo is an electronics kit which makes it easier to use Arduino, Sensors
and Motors

The process started with 5 minutes of pure ideation — With just one objective,
to solve the problem of waking up. Initially, I spent only 20 seconds in it, as
the solutions seemed quite obvious and limited to me. Because I was nudged to
spend 5 minutes, I was able to come up with quite a long list of ideas to solve
the problem.

Each of the headings after this had 2 minutes spend ideating with an additional
objective. As you can see, many of the ideas were repeated. This was
intentional, since thinking about the same idea with an additional objective
makes you think about it from a whole other perspective.

For example, I wanted to open the curtains in the morning, as this was a natural
and pleasant alarm. The section which asked me to use khelo(an electronics kit
which makes it easier to use Arduino, Sensors and Motors) made me look at how
practical this idea was — I could build a solution for this immediately — and
that’s what I did :-)

This is on a smaller scale — the black velvet is the curtain.

I followed the same ideation process for the other problem I listed above —

When I’m out, I know it’s not much, but still it’s too much work to use
google maps

I looked at this problem from another perspective — the perspective of the
delivery person, whether it’s an amazon package or an uber ride — the driver
often calls you to understand where the address is.

After following the same ideation process above, I made a formal textual pitch
and explanation for the idea, and submitted it to NIF — An
organization which supports ideas and innovations by students in high school.

Here is what I wrote —

In India, more people remember landmarks, rather than the names of roads.
Landmarks also make navigation way more specific. However, landmarks have never
been the key of navigation apps. This causes delivery people to call you, and
takes away both your, and their time, making the process of navigation and
delivery inefficient.

My idea is a navigation app that is based on landmarks, images, and audio —
media makes directions much easier to grasp. Instead of saying turn left on
Gandhi road, the app shows an image of Hyatt Regency on Gandhi road, along with
a left arrow. The audio narrates this (“Do you see the long Hyatt on this road?
Take a left from there”).

The collection of the media will be crowdsourced — people will dedicate the time
it takes to explain their address to a delivery person, to explain it to the
app. The app will explain it to everyone else.

After this, I think creative genius is just 11 minutes spent performing this
ideation process. Yes, it is repetitive, and can be annoying, but I noticed a
significant outflow of ideas when I did this.

I found myself cutting short on the 11 minutes — because having ideas seemed
very natural to me. I was under the impression that you always just get an idea
out of nowhere — A lightbulb just pops up. That doesn’t seem to be the only case

All inventions have ideas behind them, and all ideas have thinking. It seems absurd to me that we don’t spend time thinking about them, and target them with clear objectives.