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  • Writer's pictureRitwic Singh

How fast can you come up with bad ideas?



Research and ideation are tricky, even when you know what you want, you cannot help but trail off on tangents and distractions throughout. To set it off, you want to be both non-assuming but also knowledgeable on the subject. You don't want to lead your subjects into specific boxes but also don't want them to wander off in directions which frankly have nothing to do with what you have to work on. Maintaining this balance is chaotic enough in interviews where you must allow a person to speak their heart but also respect the time constraints put on the stakeholders. And when you shift to a quick ideation session to generate at least a 100 ideas. 100 good, bad, feasible, expensive, imaginary, surreal, pragmatic, futuristic and even archaic ideas which may or may not work but are still, in their purest form, a 100 ideas.



Through the next two studios we first set up for a 90 minute session with our top preferred ideation methods which we picked from a link. I felt that the bad ideas and 30 circles were effective quick ideation methods for a situation where we need ideas which go over the roof and we need them fast. The bad ideas approach is about letting your imagination beyond the boundaries set by humans to maintain civilization. It is about giving ideas which do not need to be feasible or even anything that previously exists and reach down to that 4 year old inside you to create beautiful ideas which we can later as researchers can modify, alter and taper to create feasible, good ideas. On the other hand, the 30 circles approach is built around fast but manageable ideation. I altered the 30 circles down to 10 due to time, materials and participant constraints and we went down a journey of quick ideation for the next five minutes. This workshop, due to the multiplication of ideas between 6 participants, led to a total of 120 ideas.


That is a massive number to then try and categorize when everything on the team's mind is to take a step back from the workshop and debrief and reflect. But nevertheless we created a physical graph on our workstations and categorized the ideas by comparing the business and user value. This was to be done without judgement, except the judgement we make with regards to the business or how the user might perceive it, which as a researcher is a bit of a paradox for me.

Of course, the tiny obsessive compulsive human inside my brain told me to redo the whole thing on figma, which I did to make it a bit easier to understand. I will admit, at one point during the 10 circles exercise, even I did not know what I was drawing, I just was trying to fill the circles and worry about decoding them into words later. So the red line is my threshold line for good ideas which I will consider. I picked about 30 or so feasible ideas which could maybe work and click with the scenarios that I had to build around.


The basis of our research was to understand how might we engage those participants who can finish escape rooms with a lot of time left on the clock elsewhere so we can reward their accomplishment and tickle their competitiveness. We felt that our ideas can be mini-games, engagement activities and maybe even perks and prizes for those who finish in record times. These ideas we then further classified into five, five and a half ideas which we will then further be storyboarding from.


It is both surreal and slightly unnerving how far out we can go with these ideas and how the only limit we can place on ourself is our imagination. I do hope my ideas conform into a communicable but bizarre experience.


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