Image credit: Victoria Wendish
This week’s title, Ideation, refers to the process of generating ideas and solutions, typically through activities and frameworked sessions like sketching, wireframing, and brainstorming (Rikke Friis Dam and Teo Yu Siang, 2021).
I’ve reflected on my approach to ideation a few times since starting this course, so in this post I’ll summarise my team’s approach to ideation, and my role within that effort as team leader.
Our first semblance of an idea came about organically. Juan proposed the idea of producing a mobile audio experience with minimal user input; a product that users could passively listen to to unwind before bed, for example. The concept elicited a positive response from the whole team, so we decided to carry it forward into a discovery phase.
The notion of ‘minimal user input’ is an opportunity for inclusive design. Refining the mode of interaction to a discrete set of gestures will help us deliver an accessible product to users with motor impairment. If our product is audio-centric, we’ll also need to find a solution for making the game accessible to users with hearing impairment. I’m looking forward to exploring these nuances through user research and wireframing in the coming weeks.
In every other artefact I have produced on this course, I have used ideation exercises to come up with an idea. In this instance, idea was conceived by another team member. This has given the module an additional element of professional realism for me. It encourages me to problem solve and refine another person’s idea; transforming it into a deliverable artefact.
By working on a project that isn’t of my own imagining, I can challenge my empathy, curiosity, problem-solving, and communication skills in new ways. These are all skills that are recognised as being some of the most important skills for UX designers (Maria Rosala and Rachel Krause, 2019).
Moving through the ideation journey, I have identified challenges in team leadership that I will need to work to overcome in the next few weeks.
In our first team call, I did not set an agenda. I quickly found that, while everyone in the team was keen to contribute, the discussion meandered and it wasn’t clear what each team member needed to do off the back of our talking points.
Following Sonya Krakoff’s guidance in a blog post for Champlain College, I stated a purpose when calling the second meeting. I wrote and shared the agenda before hand, then closed the meeting with a list of actions for each attendee. This meeting felt notably more efficient than the first— but conversation still strayed from the agenda.
I’m happy to allow room for natural discourse. It aligns with my belief that good conversation can be therapeutic; creative discussion helps team members find commonalities and build a productive rapport (Indeed Editorial team, 2021). With that being said, I will need to be mindful of meetings becoming derailed. In future, I’ll practise moving conversations to more approprate channels when they start to bloat meeting time.
Another challenge that I have encountered in leading this team is my tendency to assume every team members’ goals for this module.
I subscribe to K. Anders Ericsson’s (2006) framework for the aqcuisition and maintenance of superior expert performance in my own studies. There are particular aspects in my practice that I want to improve, and as such I want to encounter challenging problems around accessibility and communicating design choices through UX deliverables. Simply, I want to push myself outside of my comfort zone.
The mistake I initially made was assuming that the other students in my team wanted to progress hard skills in a similar way.
In reality, there are members in my team that want to develop their time management or want to participate in effective collaboration. As a team leader, If I persistently ask those people to complete tasks that they are uncomfortable with, they will become burned out. That’s at direct odds with my upmost priority for this module – to ensure that my whole team has a positive and satisfying experience of working as a unit.
DAM, R.F. & SIANG, T.Y. 2021. ‘What is Ideation – and How to Prepare for Ideation Sessions’. Interaction Design Foundation [online]. Available at: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/what-is-ideation-and-how-to-prepare-for-ideation-sessions [accessed 23/08/2021].
ERICCSON, K.A. 2006. ‘The influence of experience and deliberate practice on the development of superior expert performance’. The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance, 38(685-705), 2.
INDEED EDITORIAL TEAM. 2021. ‘Creative Team Building Questions (With Examples)’ Indeed [online]. Available at: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/team-building-questions [accessed 23/08/2021].
KRAKOFF, S. ‘How to Lead and Run an Effective Team Meeting’ Champlain College Online [online]. Available at: https://online.champlain.edu/blog/how-to-lead-effective-team-meeting [accessed 23/08/2021].
ROSALA, M. & KRAUSE, R. 2019. ‘User Experience Careers: What a Career in UX Looks Like Today’. 2nd edn. Nielsen Norman Group [online]. Available at: https://media.nngroup.com/media/reports/free/UserExperienceCareers_2nd_Edition.pdf [accessed 23/08/2021].