POST 9: Visual documentation of the brainstorming session


Filling in the Blanks


– Maria Yanovsky, 2016


Group brainstorming session, which in my opinion was not a great success. Not because the method was wrong, but the group collectively lacked clarity and drive. (Brainstorm, Homelessness and Exclusion Group, 2016)



Unfortunately, collaborative work is not always a success. For the proposal brainstorming session, there was a lot of confusion within the group as to what needed to be done. Because of a lack of clarity, the map itself is quite bare.

Initially the group attempted to write down solid ideas for everyone’s problem statements where four out of five members were dealing with an aspect of stigma towards the homeless community. This lead to numerous overlaps, stagnation of ideas and overall exhaust of creative thinking. It was not until towards the end of the session where a tutor approached the group, clearly noticing the struggle to populate the sheet of butcher’s paper that we realised the ideas we were generating did not need to be solid at this stage, and could be as bare as pinpointing the emotions we wanted to draw out from our proposed outcomes. These words of wisdom were a touch too late as the session was at an end and members burn out. However the session laid the foundations for post class creative thinking and brainstorming.

The one key aspect that this session did demonstrate was that a majority of the group wanted to highlight on the negative stigmatisation towards people in the homeless community. After much reflection, I felt that it may be intriguing if I explored this issue in a more positive angle. This meant I had to fill in the cracks of my research which had not yet fully looked at the issue from that perspective.

TedTalks are a valuable resource of gaining anecdotal reflections on issues. I had gone through numerous talks from people who had a part to play with the issue of homelessness within their community or were they themselves, homeless.

Key insight list created while watching a playlist of TED Talks  (Yanovsky.M, 2016).

During my small research session, I reflected on one or two key insights from each of the Ted Talks speakers. Optimism, hope and positive change were recurring themes. The most influential driver to the direction of my brainstorming came from the talk “How can I bring dignity to the homeless? “ by  Joel Hunt who said

“We can approach people with respect for themselves, we can offer a handshake, a smile a hello- their reception to our action isn’t our responsibility but as a person you tried. It’s about how we as a community of individuals can come together to bring hope.Smiles. Dignity can be restored through hope.”- J.Hunt 2014.

It was through this, I began to feel that shaming and blaming may not generate an effective positive reception from the target audience of 18-25 year olds as the message of the design may fall short from the scalding, condescending and potentially mocking tone some of the potential design responses could engender. I personally would’t listen to a twitter bot if I was misusing language in relation to homelessness.

From this exercise, I brainstormed a scope of emotions I may want to generate from my design proposition and began ideating in accordance with emotions that I felt may generate a stronger, more meaningful outcome all the while keeping in mind of my human and non human stake holder map.

From the brainstorming and further research I generated a list of roughly 9 ideas. For the sake of blog I have split up where I have placed some of these ideas, some are located in my blog post 8. From this list I picked a few that I thought could make for interesting design propositions then broke them down into examinations of their category, making sure to examine stakeholders and emotion as well as purpose. My two favourite options (shown above) are on polar ends of what I would hope to achieve. Focusing on emotional impact was an effective way of zeroing into my thoughts and generating unexpected ideas, either of which I would be more than happy to make.

Hunt, J.  Published on Oct 22, 2014 ‘How can I bring dignity to the homeless? TEDxSaltLakeCity’, Viewed September 2016, <;.