In this weeks workshop, we formed groups and each selected an approach to help us generate new ideas. Our group selected brainstorming. As we attempted to come up with ideas we began to struggle and decided to add the associations approach into our brainstorming session. We used a random word generator to help us do this. This was a great approach that broadened our ideas greatly. Some of my favourites included, trip advisor for recipes, a gamed at children teaching them how to make investments, an app that prevents food waste and an app for reading and learning sign language. This was a really fun exercise and the word associations helped to pull everyone into the conversation and present more creative concepts which were written on post its and added to a whiteboard.
From there we began to arrange the post it’s into bin and keep sections. However as we were discussing each idea there was a reluctance to move ideas into the bin section so we created a bad, good and really good section, This helped us to pull out the particularly strong ideas.
When selecting our idea’s we created a group chat to discuss decisions and let each other know our final selection. This worked really well and allowed everyone to make a selection, it’s interesting to note that everyone appeared to select an idea they had generated themselves.
I narrowed my ideas down to a social media app aimed at learning by sharing videos and an app to help people to give to the homeless. After having discussed my first idea in a one to one session it became clear that there were various platforms that already covered this area. However, I got great feedback on the app to help the homeless. It was a clear winner as actually dealt with a real problem faced by the homeless that there is currently no real solution for.
Following my one to one session on the homeless app idea, a created a mind map of various approaches discussed. From here I decided that provide people with donation points across Belfast where individuals could tap their cards and make small donations similar to spare change. It may also be helpful to include donation points at tills and create an app and website that allows people to donate larger amounts. As the problem I am trying to solve is that without carrying money people can no longer give to those on the streets I would therefore like the money to go directly to the homeless. I think the best way to go about this is a card distribution system similar to the spend local scheme. An added benefit of this is that it could provide an incentive for businesses to get on board with the scheme and include donation points at their tills. This is because the cards would only be redeemable in businesses signed up to the scheme and only used for approved items e.g. not alcohol. By signing up for the scheme the business would receive tax reliefs.
To make sure the concept I have generated so far is solid I have completed a S.W.O.T. analysis on it. As shown in the above analysis I have identified a number of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The biggest weakness and threats in my opinion are the complexity of the system, associated costs, and encouraging businesses and charities to get involved in the scheme. Other threats such as the card system being abused or finding a team to build the system are problems I feel could be dealt with as the scheme progressed. e.g. research into how to tighten restrictions on who can receive a card and verification steps on who is using the card could be added.
Strengths and opportunities include providing the homeless with the freedom to go to stores and purchase necessary items and providing those who want to give to the homeless an alternative way to give that does not require spare change. I feel that these points strongly outweigh the weaknesses and potential threats and therefore feel quite confident moving forward at this stage.
The above brainstorming and analysis methods have been incredibly helpful in carrying me through my idea generation process and helping me to start the validation process. I found brainstorming and free associations to be a great combination of methods to help us generate ideas. These are definitely approaches I will use again in the future. As with all of my projects I then moved to mind mapping as I find this approach helps me consider my ideas from all angles. Once I had established my approach completing a SWOT analysis was a great way to ensure my final idea was actually solving a problem and a feasible approach to doing so. Again, a SWOT analysis is a technique I have used before and plan to continue using to verify the solidity of future ideas and approaches to solving problems.