As R&D consultants we claim to be experts on the creative process. To challenge ourselves and that very claim, we embarked on an exciting week where we went through an accelerated version of our design and research process. We sought to challenge the way things are done today, conceptualizing designs that explored what the future would look like for different consumer devices.
We’ve documented our process here to give you a glimpse of how we think and work.
Day One began with a kickoff to bring the team together and outline expectations, responsibilities, and goals for the week. We set up an "idea corner" to provide a place to gather thoughts and ideas and a workspace complete with drawing and notetaking tools to foster creativity and collaboration.
From there, each member received a topic and attempted to address:
• Who are the users?
• What technology currently exists?
• What are the trends (wearables, autonomous vehicles)?
• How can we integrate related technologies or industries to create a more innovative product?
• What is the vision for the future?
After half the day had passed, we shared our findings to ensure that there was still positive energy around each topic and identified areas that needed course correction, focus change, and new avenues for continued research.
Day Two allowed for more in depth extension of the topics identified and researched on Day One. Less promising ideas were filtered out, and we began to delve into the feasibility and relevance of the remaining ideas, asking questions such as:
• How does it work?
• What does it look like?
• What are the key scenarios?
Answering these questions enabled us to structure a definition statement that included the problem statement, the needs, and the value statement for each topic.
Identifying the most promising ideas, we began to flesh out the concepts with sketches in preparation for a focus group. We held two internal review sessions true to our iterative nature.
First, we wrote down our thoughts about the selected ideas on sticky notes and placed them on the wall; then, we discussed, consolidated, identified themes, and further narrowed down our ideas. The ideas that managed to survive were displayed alongside sketches and descriptions during an "idea vernissage" and happy hour.
With the gallery-style setup of idea vernissage, we could quickly see which ideas were most appealing to people.
Focus group day - we would finally be able to get reactions from people on our concepts! We used our internal tool youXemotions to quantitatively gauge reactions from participants and provided them with sticky notes and Playdough to express their thoughts.
The focus group clearly prioritized the concepts and provided valuable insight to what made concepts interesting and what elements were concerning to users. With that feedback, we scrapped unsuccessful ideas, simplified features, and refined conceptual form factor and visual language.