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InnoVenture Solutioning Workshop
– Ideas for Ideas

(15 September 2018)

By Elijah Ng, IEL Student Writer

Having explored, understood, and verified the problems faced by their target consumers, our students were now ready to begin ideating. To help them get their creative sparks flying, InnoVenture organised a Solutioning workshop, with guest lecturer Patrick Chia (Director of the Design Incubation Center) from the School of Design & Environment in NUS. To get participants into the groove of divergent thinking, the workshop was kickstarted with a simple yet challenging activity: draw 30 variations of an apple.

With their right brains jump-started, they were then ready to explore the various methods of design thinking — and to apply them to their own problems. One of these methods was the journey map, which is perhaps the best alternative to the business canvas that most entrepreneurs are familiar with. Instead of collating the pain and pleasure points into a diagram, the journey map approach involved plotting out the user’s experience in great detail and then identifying the pains and gains involved in each step of the customer’s journey. This breakdown allowed students to home in on exact points in the process to find design problems and opportunities. It was a new approach anchored in user-experience.

After seeing their problems with a fresh set of design-thinking lenses, students were now ready to learn new ways of ideating — the act of coming up with as many solutions as possible to their identified opportunities. One of the more interesting methods taught was to attempt a force fit of emerging technological trends with their current problem. Though this did not lead to the creation of a new fancy blockchain-based cryptocurrency (thank goodness for that!), it did get students to start thinking about the implications of such new yet accessible technologies and to examine if existing solutions to other problems might be applicable to theirs.

Lastly, to wrap up the session, students learned to evaluate their ideas. This was perhaps, the most crucial step towards developing a brilliant idea. After having generated tons of ideas throughout the session, it was necessary to filter them down and further refine the best of their ideas. To accomplish this, students were taught the evaluation matrix, a simple, graphical method of classifying and narrowing down their ideas, allowing them to pick out the top few. After that, they were taught to provide critical and constructive feedback by utilising three statements, namely: “I like…”, “I wish… “, and “what if…”. This allowed them to give adequate validation for the areas which were good (something quite often left out in criticism), while also positively pointing out possible avenues for improvement, as is necessary for all constructive feedback.

It was a long but intense crash-course to the design process, but with all these Solutioning tools in the bag, our InnoVenturers were now ready to hit the drawing boards, get crazy with brainstorming, and dream up their MVPs! Best of luck to them!

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