Type 1 Diabetes: Brainstorming for a Design Response

Post 9 by Lucy Allen

The word brainstorming as so many immediate connotations, not all of these very exciting. When it comes to understanding a topic and defining an issue however the process of brainstorming is vital. We explored a number of brainstorming activities that provided us with the depth and material to then define a design response.

One of the initial brainstorming tasks we undertook in class asked us to identify some issues in regards to our topic and then break these down by defining:

WHO Does the problem effect?
WHAT are the boundaries of the problem?
WHEN does the problem occur? When does it need to be fixed?
WHERE does it occur?
WHY does it occur?

An example of this method in practice

I found this activity particularly helpful in forcing me to breakdown an issue so that myself and others could understand it fully. This activity also provided a structure for me to write my issue statement from.

It was also mentioned that when narrowing in on an issue a really fantastic way of exploring and understanding it is to continuously ask why, just like a child would. I absolutely LOVED this exercise and it allowed me to really understand WHY this issue existed and work out where within the system change and response was needed.

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An extract taken from asking why


When it came to brainstorming as a group, attempting to map potential responses to my specific issue was quite a struggle for other members of my group. I think this was due to the fact that my issue is so specific and knowledge dependant. Despite this barrier we were able to come up with a few really promising emergent responses to my issue. One of the benefits of doing this particular task as a group meant that I got to hear the different opinions and responses of my group members, brainstorming responses I may otherwise have never ventured towards. It was a shame that this particular brainstorming took place at the end of class as by this time everyone was quite tired and lacking brain power!

Group Brainstorm

I received some really valuable feedback in response to our groups map. It was suggested that I think about the values of understanding, connection and acceptance in their individual forms, particularly when deciding on which emergent response to pursue. From this initial group brainstorm I was inspired me to continue developing and brainstorming responses to the issue, developing the map and honing in on a particular response.

Building upon our group brainstorming

I did find throughout this process that it was hard to generate lots of ideas. Despite this I found a few responses that I’m excited to pursue, you can read all about this in my recent blog post A Design Response for Type 1 Diabetes.

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