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Design Brainstorming: Creativity as Killer App

One way creativity can apply to every situation faced is to make a protocol of running a problem through a filter of crashing disparate influences. If everytime we are faced with a problem and two or three answers appear, there is great value in smashing those seemingly obvious first choices into other non intuative, even non sensical, options. Brainstorming can help here.

One method (or killer Brainstorm app) is to collect a group of problem solvers and start by brainstorming a list of 3 categories, let's say user, like product and like function. Next pick randomly from the lists, combining the three into an answer. Making the list is fun and thought starting. Combining the three, provides structure within the brainstorm ( I know, sounds counter intuitive, but it works) although the ideas may not be immediately applied, they almost always lead to unexpected answers and new directions.


Although a brainstorm like this is a small step and usually safe to do. The point is to provide a method that allows the embrace of ambiguity and encourages going someplace different. This kind of thing in the long run, helps encourage an organization to look for other ways to integrate creative thinking.


Mark Dziersk FIDSA.
VP Indusrial Design - laga/one80



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  • LaDonna Coy

    Hi Mark,

    I'm always looking for good ways to stimulate creative solutions so thanks for the post AND I'm a little baffled with the steps in the process. I'm most curious about brainstorming categories (assuming relevant to the problem but could be wrong) and then not sure where the lists come from? Could you outline it more clearly and/or provide an example?

  • mark dziersk

    Jon please do go ahaed and add the thought.

    Walter, here is some more detailthat might help. It is a simple matrix structure that provides stimulus in thinking about - who - something is for. - What- it’s for and - how - others have approached like problem.

    Say you would like to brainstorm a new MP3 player;

    What you do is to name people who fit the target. Say it's a 40-60 year old professional woman- Oprah, Katie Curic, Diane Saywer, Diane Keaton etc…


    Different ways to deliver music….CD’s phonographs, underwater, through your jawbone……


    Other things that are delivered…. The mail, speeches, babies… (I know sounds crazy)

    Finally choose from each category. Let’s sketch and Idea for an MP3 player that is what – Oprah would use to listen to records when delivering a speech or Katie Curic would use to play her I-pod through her jawbone…..

    That's roughly the idea.

    The structure provides context and get's the mind thinking in loosely the key directions.


  • Jon C. Jenkins


    This is a great way of generating ideas. You might take a look at where there are 300+ methods of facilitation many of which are to generate ideas.

    Would you mind if I added your idea?

  • Walter

    Sorry to be dense but can you give a brief example? That can start us off?