How a set of cards can help creatives with brainstorming
In June last year, I decided to build a simple website explaining a project I had slowly been developing on the side. It’s called Triggers, and it’s a set of physical cards that helps people come up with creative ideas.
I came across the need of Triggers long ago during some of my workshops; sometimes you try a great group exercise for ideation, but the whole team thinks the same, or they just can’t get any ideas. The method might be great, but the inspiration is not there.
Triggers cards contains “what if” questions that make you think in different directions, accelerating the process of generating ideas.
Some examples of Triggers cards used for the prototype
I have designed those questions as generic as possible, so they fit most kind of creative problems.
How Triggers works
I see Triggers questions like doors or paths. Every time you take one card, you are opening a door and taking a sneak peek of what’s inside. These doors make you curious, awake and creative.
I have seen how the cards work in very diverse teams, and the results are very promising. These are some of the conclusions I got:
1) It’s very horizontal. Everyone can use it, it’s simple and direct, and makes all members of the team a great asset to ideate.
2)It’s very flexible. You can use the cards in many different ways and techniques. There is not just one way.
3) It diversifies thoughts. With the cards, groups and individuals tend to think out of the box and get unexpected results.
4) It works! You can see how people immediately start spitting out ideas when they use them.
For the launch, I’m focusing Triggers on creativity, design thinking, service design and advertising projects, but my long-term vision is much richer and broader.
My ultimate vision is t0 develop Triggers to be a tool for opening and diversifying thoughts, in whatever topic that might be. I’m talking about science, literature and even politics. I can perfectly see a Triggers stack focused on designing alternative society systems.
I’m excited about the potential of the project and to have the opportunity of researching on different fields and collaborating with other people.
Let’s see how far we can take Triggers.
Triggers is excellent opening creative paths and making it very easy for everyone to come up with ideas. Even your clients don't have any training; they'll have a great and useful time using the cards.
A goal is the essential part of a team. Without a goal, your team is just a group of people gathering around. There would be no purpose and no clear direction. That's why, before every creative meeting, we advise you to set the goal of the session very clear.
It is a common problem. It could be personality, personal situation, or trust issues. Whatever the reason is, the problem is always the same: not everyone contributes with ideas when brainstorming. Even when it could sound like a huge issue and some difficult to solve, it's not. You just need to introduce one simple step in your creative sessions: first write, then share.
Admit it. We don't know how to listen really. It's a common thing. When someone comes to tell us something, while we are listening, we already think what to answer. It's an automatic mechanism inside of us, and it usually leads to a lot of prejudges and misunderstandings.
Ideating with Triggers cards could be addictive! That isn't necessarily a bad thing (we assure you there are no health contraindications), but we recommend to put a limit on the number of cards you use for each session.
It's reality. There are days when you or your team will be feeling lazy, unmotivated or just not in the mood of going into the ideation process.
If you have been facilitating the creative process or in charge of a creative team before, you know how tough is to direct them without sounding like a dictator or killing their motivation.
It doesn't matter how well you prepare the exercises for your brainstorming sessions, if the team doesn't come with the right attitude, it will be a disaster.
It's 2017 and project managers still freak out every time they have to calculate how long it will take the creative team to arrive at a solution for the client's brief. We have all been there. It's an endless fight. So, is it impossible to calculate how long the creative process should last?
We all like shortcuts, especially if they can cut us unnecessary time spent in boring "creative" meetings. When it comes to creativity, we depend too much on the Eureka moment, but there are ways to get there quicker.