Fast Idea Generator. Copyright 2016 The Open University

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1 Fast Idea Generator Copyright 2016 The Open University

2 2 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

3 Contents Fast Idea Generator 4 1 When to use the fast idea generator Using the Fast Idea Generator Too 5 2 Thinking differenty 6 3 Exporing a probem 8 4 Seecting ideas Methods of seection 11 Summary 12 Sef-assessment questions 12 End of Modue Quiz and Survey 14 References and acknowedgements 15 3 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

4 Fast Idea Generator Fast Idea Generator This modue wi support your understanding and use of the Fast Idea Generator Too from the DIY Tookit. You shoud ook at the Fast Idea Generator Tempate before working through the modue. You wi find it hepfu to have a print out of the Fast Idea Generator Tempate with you whie you work through this modue. Whether identifying a great opportunity to do something new and exciting, or just needing to take a fresh ook at a famiiar routine, we a have times when we coud use a bit of creative thinking at work. In this modue you wi earn about the Fast Idea Generator Too. This is a too that heps an individua or team to generate new ideas by ooking at a probem, chaenge or opportunity from a broad range of perspectives. (Before using the fast idea generator, it heps to have a very cear definition of the issue you are ooking to address. You may find it hepfu to use the Probem Definition Too from the DIY Tookit for this purpose.) Learning outcomes After studying this modue, you shoud be abe to: describe when the fast idea generator is appropriate and usefu (SAQ 1) expain why thinking differenty can hep to generate new ideas (SAQ 2) understand the nine approaches of the fast idea generator, which hep you to expore and chaenge a wide range of perspectives on a probem or opportunity by chaenging accepted conventions (SAQ 3) identify and seect the most usefu ideas from the fast idea generator process to take forward for further investigation or discussion (SAQ 4). 1 When to use the fast idea generator Think back over the ast few weeks of work. At any point, in trying to find a soution to a probem, did you choose a soution based on how things have aways been done at your workpace or in your professiona fied? If you didn t need to ook for a soution during the ast few weeks, can you think now of any part of your work practice that coud use some improvement? (Hint: the honest answer is aways yes!) If the issue is one that has been addressed many times before, either by you or others, then it can be difficut to prevent your ideas from being restrained by that famiiarity with the issue. Uness you re a creative genius, or just very ucky, and immediatey think up a briiant soution, the best way to have a good idea is to generate a ot of ideas. That s just what the Fast Idea Generator Too enabes you to do, heping to expand your thinking by asking you to expore the issue from a range of different perspectives. You can effectivey use the Fast Idea Generator Too by yoursef but, as with many of the toos in the DIY Tookit, working through it in a group wi hep to generate the most ideas. Doing this using the Creative Workshop Too woud be particuary usefu and appropriate. 4 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

5 1 When to use the fast idea generator The Fast Idea Generator Too works best when you have aready identified the issue that you want to address, be it a probem, chaenge or opportunity. It wi hep you to broaden your thinking and create discussion among stakehoders to test ideas in depth before committing time and other resources to deveoping a detaied soution. 1.1 Using the Fast Idea Generator Too Two short exampes of using the fast idea generator are given in the case studies beow. Case Study 1: Babu s use of the Fast Idea Generator Too Babu runs a schoo in Kathmandu, Nepa, founded on a socia mission to support underprivieged chidren. He wants to estabish a cooperative for those parents who are unempoyed, so that they can work together to generate their own income. He brings together a interested parents to a meeting, and uses the Fast Idea Generator Too to expore what sort of business the cooperative might deiver. Case Study 2: Babette s use of the Fast Idea Generator Too Babette works for a sma non-governmenta organisation (NGO) in Bantyre, Maawi. Her outreach team of three peope works with oca schoos and heath centres to promote good practice regarding water, sanitation and hygiene. Monitoring and evauation suggests that the team is having a positive impact. However, Babette wants to know whether or not they coud be doing even more. She brings her team together and uses the Fast Idea Generator Tempate to come up with ots of new ways they coud try to convey their message to the oca schoos and heath centres with which they work. In both of these case studies, the issue to be addressed has been ceary defined: Case Study 1: What sort of business coud the parents cooperative deiver in order to generate income? Case Study 2: What ese coud the outreach team do to promote good practice regarding water, sanitation and hygiene, working through oca schoos and heath centres? Key point Make sure your probem is we-defined before using the fast idea generator to begin exporing it from different perspectives. Activity 1 Aow around 5 minutes for this activity For each of the statements beow, seect whether the activity it describes woud or woud not benefit from the Fast Idea Generator Too. (a) I want to engage my team in generating new ideas for a probem that we have. 5 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

6 2 Thinking differenty Woud benefit Woud not benefit (b) I don t know exacty what the probem is, so I want to define it. Woud benefit Woud not benefit (c) I want to ook at probems from a range of perspectives. Woud benefit Woud not benefit (d) I want to think of new potentia soutions. Woud benefit Woud not benefit (e) I want to generate new ideas for an opportunity I have identified. Woud benefit Woud not benefit Discussion The ony activity from the ist that woud not benefit from the Fast Idea Generator Too is (b) I don t know exacty what the probem is, so I want to define it. Before using the too, it heps to have a very cear definition of the issue you are ooking to address. A of the other activities woud benefit. 2 Thinking differenty Are you famiiar with the phrase thinking outside the box to describe thinking differenty or from a new perspective? This is essentiay how the Fast Idea Generator Too works: it prompts you to break the conventions of norma thinking. Doing this successfuy is not so much about taent as it is about your attitude, approach and wiingness to be payfu in order to generate some ideas that might seem a itte siy. This can fee uncomfortabe at first, particuary in a work context where we are used to being anaytica and ogica, trying to go straight to the right answer without making mistakes. We might aso be concerned that our peers and seniors wi disapprove of our creative suggestions. These constraints make it difficut to think of different and effective ways to do something, because we d need to be abe to articuate a fuy-formed soution without room for error or question! In creative thinking, you are focusing on idea generation rather than soution panning, therefore there is no right answer. The more answers you can think of, the better however siy they may be. It s criticay important that this understanding is shared among a participants working with the Fast Idea Generator Too to ensure that everyone fees that they are in a comfortabe and safe activity space where there is no risk of criticism. 6 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

7 2 Thinking differenty Key point Creative thinking can ony be successfu if peope fee abe to be siy without fear of judgment. Figure 1: Time to think outside the box! Activity 2 Aow around 10 minutes for this activity Think about peope you know and work with. If you were faciitating a creative-thinking activity for them, how comfortabe woud they be to voice a siy or not we thought out idea? What can you do to make this easier? Make some notes in the text box beow. Provide your answer... Discussion Your response to this activity wi depend on the cuture and environment within which you work. In my own experience, the group dynamic changes according to eves of authority in the room. If everyone is at the same eve, then they wi fee more comfortabe than they woud if more senior coeagues were in the room. 7 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

8 3 Exporing a probem You can address this before the activity begins by preparing peope about who wi be present. For exampe, I might tak to my boss and et him know that I m going to make a point of teing everyone that he is under instruction to be siy and to expect this from the rest of the group. He coud then make a joke of hoding the responsibiity of instructing everyone to do as they re tod and be siy. 3 Exporing a probem To compete the Fast Idea Generator Tempate, start from an existing concept, probem or opportunity, and then appy the nine approaches suggested in the tempate. These are simpe steps to hep you to think of aternatives that bend, break and stretch the norma rues in such a way that you can generate many surprising ideas in a short period of time. It is important to remember that, in the first instance, you re not ooking for the good or right answers, but simpy answers that are not constrained by convention. Of course, in reaity, some of these wi be inappropriate or even impossibe to achieve, but seecting the good ideas comes at a ater step in the fast idea generator process. This is the fun bit! In Case Study 3 beow, we foow Rikta s use of the Fast Idea Generator Tempate. Rikta is a schooteacher in rura India; you can aso watch a video expaining her story on Fast Idea Generator page of the DIY Tookit. Case Study 3: Turning schoos upside down? Rikta is very passionate about education and wishes she coud teach more chidren. Her nearest schoo is a ong way from many of the oca communities, making it difficut for chidren to attend. Many oca chidren are aso unprepared for schoo, as they ve never experienced any sort of education. Rikta sees this as a big probem. She knows the existing education system coud be improved to bring about better outcomes for peope, but she doesn t know how to make the change happen. To hep her generate ots of ideas, Rikta uses the Fast Idea Generator Tempate. Hopefuy this wi hep her to get a itte coser to teaching more chidren in community schoos. Rikta appies the nine different approaches to chaenge how the system currenty works. She uses the inversion approach to turn the system upside down. She tries to combine some education and community services through the integration approach. Rikta wonders how to extend teaching to incude other services as we. She uses the differentiation approach to ook at ways of separating eements of the system. She considers whether any new features exist that can be added to schooing; she maps out a few opportunities. For the subtraction approach she takes away unnecessary eements of what currenty happens in the system. Rikta uses the transation tactic to appy a new practice from another fied. For grafting, she inserts something that works from another fied and combines it with teaching. 8 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

9 3 Exporing a probem Finay Rikta uses exaggeration to try to push teaching to the extreme. Rikta s responses are shown in Figure 2. Figure 2: Rikta s competed Fast Idea Generator Tempate Key point Do not stop to question or chaenge ideas whie working with the Fast Idea Generator Too. Have fun exporing a wide range of perspectives. Activity 3 Aow around 5 minutes for this activity What are your thought about Rikta s use of the Fast Idea Generator Tempate? Woud you have had the same ideas? How do you think she coud have done it better? Make some notes in the text box beow. Provide your answer... Discussion You might have had more ideas than Rikta in fact, it s ikey that Rikta had ots of other ideas that didn t get captured on the version of the Fast Idea Generator Tempate that she s shared. She coud, of course, have sought input from other peope to broaden her thinking process perhaps other teachers, parents and/or other interested members of the community. 9 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

10 4 Seecting ideas 4 Seecting ideas Once you have competed the Fast Idea Generator Tempate, it is time to review the ideas and seect the best ones to expore in greater detai and potentiay deveop into workabe innovations. In Rikta s case, the individua approaches heped her to see aspects of the teaching system from entirey new perspectives. Athough some of the new ideas were a itte unikey, she now has a number of options from which she can choose and deveop into a reay compeing idea. Whether you are working aone or with coeagues, you need to decide when you have enough ideas and are ready to begin seecting the best one(s). You coud put a time-imit on each approach this is better than timing the overa activity, as you might run out of time before you ve competed every section. Aternativey, chaenge yoursef (or the group) to think of five ideas for each section (or maybe one for each section from each person in the group). However you do it, make sure you have appied a time imit, at which point you can stop and review the ideas that you ve generated. Some sections wi fee easier to compete than others, and it is just as detrimenta to produce too many ideas as it is too few. Having a time-imit to your activity wi hep to reieve some of the pressure either way. Figure 3: Know when to stop! Some ideas might seem to be competey unfeasibe at first gance but, before you dismiss them, open yoursef to the possibiity that they coud prompt another way of ooking at things just because an idea isn t directy appicabe doesn t mean that it has no merit whatsoever. Think carefuy about each idea, even the siiest, before deciding on the ones that are worth exporing further. If you re working in a group and are having troube deciding, you coud get peope to vote for their top three favourite ideas, or give them 10 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

11 4 Seecting ideas timed opportunities (perhaps a minute each) to try to convince coeagues of the merit of an idea. 4.1 Methods of seection Here are six other methods you can use to seect your best ideas: Pick the most interesting this wi keep you engaged with the process. This has drawbacks in that the most interesting isn t necessariy the one that creates or adds most vaue to the soution; but if it s interesting, then there s usuay something worth exporing anyway. Aternativey, stick with the idea that creates or adds the most obvious vaue for your partners, customers, beneficiaries or coeagues. Pick the idea that addresses the most urgent part of the probem. This is a good approach for a crisis probem, but not so appropriate for ong-term strategic gain. Ask experts to evauate the merits of competing ideas. Experts coud be peope aready in the activity group, or in your wider stakehoder group. They are simpy the peope who are best-informed about the components of the probem. Experiment: you don t have to pick one singe idea straight away. If there are eements that can be tested or prototyped, then take this route to evauating the best ideas against each other based on some rea data and experience. Combine ideas. Depending on the compexity of the probem, your creative thinking may have identified a number of different eements that coud be brought together to form one systematic soution. However you choose your best ideas, remember that they are just ideas rather than fuy formed soutions. Your next step is to create an action pan to start turning these ideas into something more practica. Activity 4 Aow around 45 minutes for this activity Think of a probem you have that coud benefit from some creative thinking. This coud be something at work, or an issue at home or esewhere in your persona ife. You are doing this as an activity to test your earning at this point, so keep it simpe. Taking a persona exampe, I currenty have a scheduing issue in which the time I need to get to work each morning cashes with the times that other members of my famiy need to be at their own schoos and coeges. Pubic transport where I ive is poor, so I am usuay the famiy taxi driver. I d ike to find a creative soution to this probem. Test your understanding of the Fast Idea Generator Too by working through your probem competey, fiing in your printout of the Fast Idea Generator Tempate. Aim for just one or two ideas for each approach. Finay, identify your top three ideas. Discussion Your answers wi, of course, depend on the probem you expored, but hopefuy you found it usefu to work through the entire tempate on your own. If you got stuck anywhere, then ook back through the modue to see why this may be, or try to expain 11 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

12 Summary why you re stuck to a friend or coeague often, just describing something aoud can hep us to gain better insight into it. My own insight came from the very first ine of my expanation of the probem: my common practice is to drive the chidren to schoo. My inverted idea was for them to drive themseves. On initia refection, I thought that was siy because they can t drive. However, one of them is od enough to earn, so in the onger term, if I heped him to do so, we coud be a itte more fexibe with the use of the car. I even fee a bit siy for not thinking of this before! Summary The Fast Idea Generator Too aows you to take risks and ensures that you do not evauate the ideas generated too quicky. It takes you through a process that encourages different thinking, but to be most creative, a ideas need to be captured no idea is too siy to be incuded. It is ony when a ideas have been captured that an evauative process is undertaken. Sef-assessment questions SAQ 1 Seect the four statements beow that you think are true of the Fast Idea Generator Too. o Using the Fast Idea Generator Too can hep me to become unstuck with a probem. o Using the Fast Idea Generator Too heps me to define a probem. o Using the Fast Idea Generator Too can hep me to change a rigid viewpoint into a more dynamic and productive one. o Using the Fast Idea Generator Too can hep to me to change my mindset. o Using the Fast Idea Generator Too enabes me to think outside the box. SAQ 2 Interactive content is not avaiabe in this format. SAQ 3 Beow is a ist of descriptions of the fast idea generator approaches. Try to seect the correct approach for each one. a. Grafts on an eement of practice from another fied 12 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

13 Sef-assessment questions Extension Exaggeration Grafting b. Segments the offer Differentiation Extension Transation c. Extends the offer Extension Exaggeration Addition d. Takes something away Grafting Subtraction Inversion e. Transates a practice associated with another fied Inversion Transation Differentiation f. Pushes something to its most extreme expression Extension Addition Exaggeration g. Turns common practice upside down Inversion Grafting Differentiation h. Adds an eement Extension Addition Integration i. Integrates the offer with other offers Addition Grafting Integration SAQ 4 Match the instructions to their corresponding descriptions. This has drawbacks in that the most interesting idea isn t necessariy the one that creates or adds most vaue to the probem; but if it s interesting, then there s usuay something worth exporing anyway. Pick the most interesting idea this wi keep you engaged with the process. 13 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

14 End of Modue Quiz and Survey This coud be vaue for your partners, customers, beneficiaries or coeagues. Stick with the idea that creates or adds the most vaue. This is a good approach in for a crisis probem but not so appropriate for ong-term strategic gain. Pick the idea that addresses the most urgent part of the probem. Experts coud be peope in the activity group, or in your wider stakehoder group. They are simpy the peope who are best-informed about the components of the probem. Ask experts to evauate the merits of competing ideas. You don t have to pick one singe idea straight away. If there are eements that can be tested or prototyped, then take this route to evauating the best ideas against each other based on some rea data and experience. Experiment. Depending on the compexity of the probem, your creative thinking may have identified a number of different eements that coud be brought together to form one systematic soution. Combine ideas. End of Modue Quiz and Survey 1 End of Modue Quiz This quiz aows you to work towards your badge for DIY Learn: Fast Idea Generator. To achieve your badge, you must answer six out of eight questions correcty. You can try each question three times. There is no imit to the number of attempts you can have to take the whoe quiz. If you answer fewer than six questions correcty, you wi need to start again if you want to earn your badge. Don t worry if you are not successfu first time, as you wi be abe to attempt the quiz again in 24 hours. When you have finished the quiz, cick on Next to review your Summary of attempt. Once you are happy with your answers, cick Submit a and finish. Then return to either the modue front page to ook again at the modue or the DIY Learn home page to ook at other modues you might ike to study. You need to enro in this course before you can attempt this quiz which you can do by cicking on the enro button at the top of this page. End of modue quiz 2 End of Modue Survey Once you have finished this quiz you wi be redirected back to this page. We woud reay appreciate a few minutes of your time to te us about your experience of studying this modue and how you intend to appy the earning to your work in a short survey. End of modue survey 14 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

15 References and acknowedgements References and acknowedgements Inspired by: Nesta (2013) Fast Idea Generator. This Modue shoud be cited as foows: DIY Learn (2016) Evidence Panning, Copyright The Open University and Nesta Except for third party materias and otherwise stated beow, this content is made avaiabe under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAike icence ( The materia acknowedged beow is Proprietary and used under icence for this project, and not subject to the Creative Commons Licence. This means that this materia may ony be used un-adapted within the DIY Learn project and not in any subsequent OER versions. Return to the DIY Learn home page 15 of 15 Wednesday 16 November 2016

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