Innovation tool: SCAMPER, assumptions, rapid rapid prtototyping

Thanks to all those attending the the idea generation workshop at the IUPUI Solutions Center Conference.

For those that missed it, here is what we did.

The goal: To leave this room with a tool to generate many new ideas or alternatives.

The first step was to provide a challenge on which the whole group could work. To get that challenge, a tool called assumption challenges was used.

The assumption challenge: write down all the things you take for granted or assume about your desk chair.

Here is a summary of what the groups thought up:
  1. There is a swivel.
  2. The chair is quiet.
  3. The chair rocks.
  4. It is comfortable.
  5. The chair will be there everyday (!!!).
  6. The chair rolls.
  7. The chair is movable.
  8. The chair has back support.
  9. The chair has a good appearance.
  10. The height is adjustable.
  11. There is a head rest.
  12. The chair will not break (!!).
  13. The chair is stong enough to support a person.
  14. There is a warranty.
  15. The chair saves legs.
  16. The chair is spill proof.
  17. The chair provides a massage (what a desk chair!).
  18. There is a head rest with a long back that reclines to allow for naps.
  19. The chair has breathable fabric.
  20. The chair absorbs sweat.
Now for the group challenge: Remove one of the assumptions above and design a desk chair that did not have that assumption. For this workshop the assumption removed was "The chair has back support".

Using this challenge the group, in teams of 3 or 4 people, were to create new ideas using the SCAMPER tool: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify/Magnify, Put to other uses, Eliminate or minify, Rearrange/Reverse. Google SCAMPER to get a range of resources detailing the tool.

Using the initial challenge (design a desk chair with out back support) and the SCAMPER tool, the groups came up with a series of ideas as individuals and as a group. As a wrap up activity, each group took one of their idea concepts and, using the available material, built or sketched their concept.

It is important to keep in mind that it was not a requirement that the end concept be a desk chair without back support, but to generate many ideas. Several of the groups presented concepts that were not just chairs but the whole desk experience. Some extended the concept to a whole building.

Resources from workshop:
The end result of this 45 minute workshop was to provide a taste of generating ideas, tapping tools like SCAMPER, challenging assumptions, and rapid rapid prototyping with available material.

Example art work from workshop

"Comfort the disturbed disturb the comfortable"


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