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Show HN: Brainstorm Troubles (docs.google.com)
20 points by vanderZwan 129 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments

Excellent presentation! Have you read "gamestorming" type books that catalog the methods invented by creatives for arriving at human centered design solutions? Thoughts on using the methods in these books to derive insights over that of "classical brainstorming" which seems akin to focus groups?

What about "design thinking"? What about methods used by creative agencies such as IDEO,to come up with human centered solutions? Thanks, I appreciate your opinion and sharing of this presentation as a UX designer with a background in HCI, trapped in an uninspired and aging tech company trying to get them to think differently or die trying.

I really need to learn to write more concisely...

Thanks for the kind words!

well, I got half of the stuff in this presentation from my masters in Interaction Design at Malmö, which includes the type of material you talk about (although somewhat surprising, most of it through good teachers passing on privileged information[0], not from reading all the influential books directly).

Anway, with that in mind it come as no surprise that I'm pretty much in favour of everything you're saying!

Some self-indulgent context: Malmö's IxD programme, at least when I was there as a student and later as a teacher, is quite different from the UX processes that most people associate with interaction design for apps. Not surprising, since it was founded by Jonas Löwgren of Thoughtful Interaction Design fame[1], and Sweden has a long tradition of using participatory design[2].

The program was more of a broad human-centered design program that happens to specialise in IxD. This was very much a response to the HCI funk of the late eighties/early nineties, where the latter field had painted itself into a corner by trying to do everything through quantitative methods (this is the simplified caricature version of the story of course, as someone with your background probably realises, and HCI has since improved a lot - I think IxD and HCI are kind of converging now).

Quantitative methods are fine for optimisation, and for verification of an idea, when the question is framed correctly. What it doesn't help with is exploring the idea space or that initial framing of the problem - it is an incomplete tool without qualitative methods.

We were thought to look at the various humanities and steal whatever is useful for us. To use things like ethnography and cultural probes, or bodystorming, or ideas from theatre, or any of the things you mentioned. From a high-level point of view, I believe the most important influence on the course was the work by Donald Schön. You might want to check out his writings - especially The Reflective Practitioner.

> a UX designer with a background in HCI, trapped in an uninspired and aging tech company trying to get them to think differently or die trying.

I think a lot of this is more political than anything else. I mean, changing this involves changing existing structures and power dynamics, and addressing fears of things changing itself. It's a pain if you're stuck in a system like that.

[0] nautil.us/issue/6/secret-codes/teaching-me-softly

[1] https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/thoughtful-interaction-design

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_design

These are the slides of a lecture I gave to design students about all the issues I have with brainstorming (in its most common form). It was originally created for design students at Malmö University a couple of years ago. Given the position I had to spend time teaching them how to brainstorm, despite not believing in it myself and hating just about every brainstorm session I ever suffered through.

Since that's not exactly a good starting point for teaching others, I decided to do my homework into what brainstorming really is (a teacher doing his homework - the educational equivalent of "dogfooding"). The slides turned it into this, and it has since evolved a bit.

It got some unexpected attention this afternoon when I shared it in a comment elsewhere[0]. Seems like it struck a chord with many here, and I was asked to submit it separately.

I'm no guru on the topic, just a (former) interaction design teacher who did his homework for the lectures he gave. I don't know much more than the slides I share here, but I hope they're of interest to others.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15237174

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