Discussion: Design Thinking Inspiration and Ideation

Discussion: Design Thinking Inspiration and Ideation

While you are doing your coursework for this program, what workspace are you using? Are you currently at your workplace in your office or cubicle, or perhaps working in a home office or a shared space? Regardless of where you do your work for this class, do you find it to be an ideal workspace? Perhaps you need better lighting, a quieter environment, or inspiring and motivating mementos to keep you focused. Perhaps you need an innovative improvement. These are exactly the types of issues that can be solved by design thinking and the application of your own creative skills.


This week, you will complete assignments that involve the design-thinking process. By utilizing this creative process, you will gain a deeper insight into the ways that you can bring creativity to your own life at work and at home.

Phase 1: Inspiration

The first phase of the process, as described by Tim Brown, is inspiration.

Take some time to interact with the space where you work. This could be at your job, where you do homework, or your home office. Make sure it is an environment over which you have some control, such as with lighting, sound, furniture placement, etc.

Adopt the role of a neutral observer and generate a list of observations of how you use this workspace. Your list should answer the following questions:

What about the workspace is already optimized or ideal?
Why do these things work well?
What about the workspace could be improved?
Are there problems or difficulties that you repeatedly experience?
What behaviors, functions, and interactions that take place in your workspace seem interesting or notable?
Your process should take the form of brainstorming. That is, the initial list does not need to be formal in tone. Rather, you should strive to capture your observations as they occur and generate as many ideas as possible.

After completing your list, write a short paragraph describing in greater depth one of the difficult or problematic aspects of your workspace you identified during the brainstorming phase. This will be the workspace challenge that you will continue to work on for Phase 2 of the design thinking process. Remember, you are not coming up with solutions at this time, but only a detailed description of the workspace challenge you have identified.

Phase 2: Ideation

To begin Phase 2 of the design thinking process, focus on the workspace challenge you identified in Phase 1 of this Discussion. Considering the workspace challenge you indentified, brainstorm a list of at least 10 innovative ideas that could resolve or help you meet the challenge; if you come up with more than 10 ideas, feel free to post them all. To generate innovative ideas, consider the following guidelines:

Do not evaluate your ideas; all are valid and there are no bad ideas.
Do not limit your ideas to products. An innovation can also be a new service, process, or organizational change.
Reach the maximum amount of possible ideas; do not waste time analyzing.
Do not fear extreme ideas; often the best innovations come from ideas that initially seem extreme.
Strive to suggest a disruptive innovation if at all possible–a completely new and radical idea.
With these thoughts in mind:

Post your list of workspace observations and your description of one particular problem from Phase 1, and your innovative ideas list from Phase 2.

Respond to your colleagues by doing the following:

First, respond to the Discussion posts of two colleagues. If possible, respond to colleagues who have not yet received feedback on their original post.
Consider the problem they have described, and brainstorm at least 5 additional ideas that might solve their problems. Post your ideas as a response to your colleagues to help them consider new aspects of their problem.
Second, respond to the post of one of your colleagues (you may choose one of the colleagues for whom you offered new ideas, or select another colleague’s post. If possible, respond to a colleague who may not yet have received feedback):
Select one of the ideas you find most interesting as a possible solution and make a case for why this idea could be a potential solution to the problem identified by your colleague.
Additionally, as part of your response, share your observations about the design thinking process. Explain aspects of it that were helpful in generating ideas and evaluating solutions.

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