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Live from RE’08: Creativity Workshops

Neil Maiden presented a paper Use and Influence of Creative Ideas and Requirements for a Work-Integrated Learning System by Sara Jones, Perry Lunch, himself from the University of Manchester and Stefanie Lindstaedt from the Know-Center.

The basic premise behind their paper is that there is an issue with elicitation, in that it assumes that the users know and can articulate what they want. They’ve integrated creativity workshop techniques to address this.

In short summary, they ran a two-day creativity workshop with 16 stakeholders, 1 facilitator, and 2 scribes. Through the workshop they do divergence and convergence of ideas, repeated several times over. I believe the idea is that people come into the workshop with some narrow ideas, so you broaden those ideas. Then in time you converge them back down to something more specific and useful. Some of the techniques they used include:

  • Round robin brainstorming, using creativity triggers
  • Constraint removal – a systematic technique to remove constraints, even if it is not feasible to remove them for real, but pretending they aren’t there allows for more creativity
  • Solution presentation – use technology ideas they already do have to inspire new ideas

They did quite a bit of data analysis and at least can show some tentative amount of “creative ideas” came out of these workshops. Either way, I do think this is important. It reminds me of the work by Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play by Luke Hohmann, which we’ve had some success with.

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