Monday, March 26, 2012
How to Develop Good Ideas IV: Let's Create
Photo courtesy grietgriet of Morguefile.com
Last time we discussed the need to educate ourselves, so that our confidence will grow, and solutions will flow! (Ahem.) Anyway, this important step, if done well, will naturally lead to the development of all sorts of design approaches. In other words, it’s time to generate ideas. For myself, I find it a good idea to always have a sketchbook handy to record ideas.
Here’s what I typically do in my sketchbook. I write down any words and phrases that corresponds to information I’ve accumulated about the subject, the problem, and possible solutions. Then I write their opposites and explore definitions. This exercise helps me develop mental pictures which I will get down on paper quickly. I try to produce at least 10 to 30 ideas in a sitting.
My advice is to not worry about trite or hackneyed solutions at this point. Quantity is more important. But you will be surprised. Often it’s those trite solutions that can lead to something innovative, because they are trite for a reason. They communicate quickly with the audience, because they are familiar. And taking the familiar and making something new can be a great solution.
Anyway, getting a lot of ideas out quickly can lead to exploration that may even leave your original thought process in the dust. And you may even stray far away from a workable solution. That’s okay, because we are not editing the ideas yet. Just producing them.
Finally, write notes beside ideas that seem to work well as solutions. I include in my notes how it addresses the problem, what I liked about it, and why it seems to work. This will come in handy if I develop any of these ideas further. It will help me stay on track, have a clear goal, and be able to communicate with the client why this can work.
Also a quick word of advice. Be open to changes in direction. It happens. I try to present at least one unexpected solution to the client along with the expected. And I’ve found out that this can cause the client to reevaluate her direction. This type of situation teaches me that what the client originally thought was the problem was only a symptom. It pushes the solution in a direction that helps the client think more deeply. And sometimes forces a change in course.