From Brainstorming to Bodystorming

Throughout the semester we learned brainstorming techniques to develop our individual and group brainstorming skills. In our Design Thinking module we learned IDEO’s approach to brainstorming. This innovative company has seven secrets that it uses to maximize its brainstorming performance. IDEO’s seven secrets of brainstorming are: sharpen the focus, write playful rules, number your ideas, build and jump, make the space remember, stretch your mental muscles, and get physical. Getting physical can mean standing up to brainstorm instead of sitting down, doing brainstorming exercises to get your blood flowing, brainstorming while in an environment connected to your topic, etc.

However, getting physical can also mean doing another technique of design thinking called bodystorming. Bodystorming is “physically experiencing a situation to derive new ideas. What you’re focused on is the way you interact with your environment and the choices you make while in it” (D.school, 2010). After all, the market is always affected by customer choices so it’s important to really understand what it driving the customers’ choices. Without bodystorming it could be hard to know if your product or service is truly filling a market need. It could be argued that bodystorming exists separately from brainstorming because you do it before the brainstorming process.

In order to learn this technique we did an in-class exercise in which we were asked how we would redesign the Kingston University Business School to better accommodate wheelchair users. Our task was to sit in a wheelchair and try to accomplish certain tasks. My group was assigned to go to the bathroom. It was not as easy as it sounds. There were too many doors to get through on the way to the bathroom, the doors were very heavy and hard to push open, and most did not have handicap buttons. Because of this we judged that the Business School building had not been properly designed with all of its customer segments and users in mind. Because of this exercise we were able to empathize better our potential users. There were some really cool and innovative solutions that we came up with as a class, such as tools that wheelchair users could use to push open the doors and floor sensors that could pick up when a wheelchair was going over them and then automatically open the doors. Understanding what your potential customers need is critical to design thinking, and bodystorming is one of the best techniques to use to accomplish this understanding. You are literally putting yourself in your customers’ shoes–or their chair.

References:

D-School (2010) Bodystorming. Available at:https://dschool-old.stanford.edu/groups/k12/wiki/48c54/Bodystorming.html (Accessed on 1 January 2019)

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