Reflecting on the IDEATion Process—Parts I-III
The first part of the ideation process was perhaps the most challenging for myself and my group. We established norms for brainstorming, created a Mural.ly document with three columns, but when we initially met, the ideas were not flowing. In terms of myself, much of it had to do with brain overload. For the first part of the activity, we created the columns so that we could post ideas without being influenced by the others in our group. However, later when we were trying to build on each other's ideas, it was difficult to see them and remember what others came up with, so we decided to collapse the columns but keep the color-coding. It helped to take a screenshot of the ideas, as it was easy to expand to view and these were easy to add to our Google Document. In terms of my own contribution for this section, I came up with the initial idea of creating three columns. A constrain during this process was that we had to wait for everyone to finish generating ideas before we could discuss, categorize, and select the promising ones. Therefore, there was a bit of a gap between parts 1 and 2 of the process.
Ideation—Part II: Selecting Promising Ideas
For this part of the process, we had to develop a protocol for selecting ideas. We came up with placing similar ideas into categories. The categories we came up with include: Involvement, Use of Technology, and Communicate, which are at the heart of our end users' (our parents' ) needs.
This part of the process came together once all of us were able to eventually meet. Because there was much overlap with our ideas across all three categories and many of these could be put into action with the right design product, designing a parent website is a way we truly believed will improve parental involvement of targeted or underrepresented groups. The website will provide streamline communication, create access and new points of entry, and provide more consistent translation than some of the previous delivery systems. In terms of constraints, this end product had more than we initially realized, but there were a number of realistic solutions. There were also a few outrageous ones (See a few of our radical solutions we generated in our second Ideation round—>Mobile Techlabs for parents or free parent mobile hotspots)
Challenges and What to Change for Next Time
In terms of my own challenges, these were twofold. First, I'm still playing catch-up. I have several obligations I have put off in order to get caught up in all of my courses. What I discovered is despite working continuously since I returned from China, I am still behind scheduled. I finally wrapped up EDL795a and I am caught up in EDL652, so this week affords an opportunity to hopefully make more headway with EDL655. Unfortunately, getting caught up in EDL655 also depends on the amount of work and time others are willing to or can commit. This brings me to the second challenge, group schedules. I found when I set aside work time, no one else was available. When others were available, tasks we agreed to complete prior to meeting were not finished. This was frustrating for me as I do not like to waste time when I have a lot of work to do. This being said, our group collaboration time is improving. I find the clearer the task, the more efficient our use of online collaboration time is. For example, if all of us are not sure what we are doing, everything takes twice as long and we are frustrated. What I found to work, is if I review requirements and scaffold the steps so that everyone else understands what we are doing better, we get our collaborative work accomplished much faster and more efficiently. Also, use of the chat box in both Google Documents and Mural.ly definitely saved time. Not everyone had the best Internet connection so discussion over Google Hangouts while working in the documents created delays. We could still use this off and on but didn't need to be on for three hours.
Using the Ideation Process with Colleagues or Students
As my comfort level gets better with online collaboration, I am definitely excited about using this process with students. I particularly think the brainstorming technique is useful and I like some of the ideas from IDEO to get the brain working. I think in terms of the time constraints required in the ideation process (although according to IDEO, these are by design and are intentional), this would need to be explained to students or many would find the experience stressful (I'm thinking about my AP folks). For colleagues, this process would be particularly good in some of our professional development trainings; except we would need better Internet in our library if online.
Ideation and Creativity: There are many traditional characteristics of creativity in the ideation process in terms of brainstorming, generating ideas, refining ideas, developing these, problem-solving, and finding solutions; however, the process does include non-traditional characteristics such as the reduced amount of time to brainstorm ideas and the fact that there is much less time between ideas and solutions. The creative process also becomes a more collaborative activity than an isolated one and also adds additional problems to solve like how to collaborate with team members across distances. Although I like the idea expressed in the Britta Riley collaborative open-source "Garden in my Apartment" project. Rather than research and development, the process enabled others take take the guidelines developed by others to research and develop it themselves.