November 18, 2022

Four Step Brainstorming Workshop

Brainstorming is one of my favorite activities to use during a project driven by design thinking. Brainstorming, in general, is always useful but having a solid objective makes a session much more valuable for everyone.

A well-planned brainstorming aims to generate more ideas, pushing past the obvious ones to develop new concepts and ideas. Wild ideas are always encouraged. It may not be viable, but it could inspire a more feasible option from a coworker. 

The goal of brainstorming is not to find an exact solution. It is to enable the team to start organizing the next steps. What ideas are ready for UX ideation vs needs additional user research? Does the engineers or data science team need to look into some of these concepts? The brainstorm will help organize the following steps to turn one of these ideas into a new user experience. 

Four Steps

  1. Insights: 20 minutes
  2. Ideas: 20 Minutes
  3. Crazy 8's: 8 - 16 Minutes
  4. Sketch Time: 30 Minutes

Who is involved?

Not just designers. It will only be as effective with other members of the company. Who knows your customers? Customer support, business development reps, operations associates, and any other stakeholders who have communication and empathy towards your customer. 

Bringing non-designers into a brainstorm aid the team feel more passionate about the product,  knowing their voice is being heard.

Workshop Time

Step 1: Insights:

This is the beginning stage to give everyone context. Any existing research insights should be shared, including the significant pain points and problems we are trying to solve, in addition to who exactly this brainstorm is trying to solve for:

  • Who are the users?
  • What are their Jobs to be done?
  • Why are some objectives for our business? 
  • What is included in our current tech stack? External API's and internal tools.

Step 2: Ideas

Time to visualize our ideas. Everyone should take this time to start sketching out some ideas. Go for a whole page, a small component or just write down some notes with a user journey attached to it. 

At the end of the 20 minutes, take a few minutes to get organized and think about the strongest ideas.

Step 3: Crazy 8's

After selecting one or two of your strongest ideas, take two minutes to sketch out that idea. 

After that two minutes, start another sketch.

Guess what comes next?  

We're going to sketch eight ideas. They can be completely different or have slight modifications from your original ideas during step two. 

Crazy eights can bring unique perspectives by sketching to visualize and communicate ideas better. 

Step 4: Sketch Time

Technically, we have already been sketching, but we will start to figure out the story behind each idea. Everyone will take their strongest, most viable ideas and spend time thinking through them, sketching out some details. 

The goal of this time is to lead the team into further design discovery.

  • Is this idea ready for more design ideation or do we need to set up a UX research project? 
  • Does the data science team need to be involved from the start?
  • How do we test these ideas once they are designed and developed?