White Envelope

POSTED BY Chris Monberg on Apr 22, 2010

Today about 35 of us piled into a HAX for a non-traditional brainstorm. There wasn't any specific client we were solving for. No new business we were chasing down. We were "innovating". The challenge was simple. We broke up into small groups. Each group was handed an envelope that contained a place (airport, park, etc) and a dozen or so technologies (mobile app, proximity sensor, etc). The challenge was to use the technologies to enhance the experiences people have in that particular space. Tony had led an identical brainstorm with a smaller team earlier in the week which ignited this broader exercise.

By narrowly constraining the tools available to each group, we really had to think differently about how to solve traditional challenges. The answers were alarming and the methods were creative. People were spitting diamonds!

I was most impressed by how smart everyone is. One of those inwardly "Jeez" moments. Secondly, there was a buzz - people were happy to be MacGyver for 90 minutes. For us, it was a good reminder that innovation doesn't always happen in product, packaging or experience design. It exists in the way we approach challenges and the process that unfolds. Inline are some sketches from today. I love tension in the images. People are relaxed but eager to listen and speak. It was like watching storm clouds roll in from the coast.

We'll continue to do this. Next up, we'll be constrained to solve challenges endemic to the world we live in through better experiences. For example, Corey's idea: "what experience can you create that will mitigate violence in schools? Judy's response: "keep kids more engaged on playgrounds". I like playgrounds! What does that experience look like?

WRITTEN BY Chris Monberg

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