There’s plenty of literature out there on how to brainstorm lots of ideas, but unfortunately, the hard part still remains: how to pick the right ideas from a wall of sticky notes and actually turn them into something real? Should that wild idea for a “toaster with wings” really stick around (retro screensavers aside)?
For a handful of internal projects, we’ve been experimenting with a completely different approach. We call it creationstorming, and we’ve found it to be super useful when timelines are tight, resources are scarce, and our heads are otherwise stuck in the clouds.
Fundamentally, creationstorming is about making concrete decisions. Ideas are critically debated in the moment, balancing feasibility and impact with respect to the project’s timeframe and goals. Best of all, the team walks out with something that has actually progressed and become closer to real, not a scattering of ideas that demand regrouping after-the-fact; creationstorming uses thinking and debate as a way to start making in-situ.
We’re still tooling the basic structure, but here’s our approach so far.
RULES FOR CREATIONSTORMING
In addition to the rules, we’ve also been sure to include three other components on a cheatsheet in each creationstorming session: the overall project goal, a list of constraints, and some brief background information to keep the dialog moving.
There is certainly a time and a place for blue-sky generation leading to studio walls full of wild ideas, but for everything else — when there are real-world constraints and complex problems to sort out — consider creationstorming as a productive step forward.