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Innovation Workshop
Jonathan Weaver & Darrell Kleinke
UDM Mechanical Engineering



Otto, Kevin and Wood, Kristin: Product Design Techniques in

Reverse Engineering and New Product Development. Prentice
Hall, 2001.
Dieter, George E.: Engineering Design A Materials and
Processing Approach. Third Edition. McGraw-Hill, 2000.
Ullman, David G.: The Mechanical Design Process. Second
Edition. McGraw-Hill, 1997.
Wright, Ian: Design Methods in Engineering and Product Design.
McGraw-Hill, 1998.
Dave Verduyn guest lectures at UDM.


What is Brainstorming
Brainstorm: Sudden disturbance of the mind; sudden inspiration.
Brainstorming is an intuitive method of working as a team to
generate concepts where team members communicate ideas
verbally and with quick sketches
All team members are encouraged to be open and uninhibited
Goal is to comprehensively explore a breadth of solutions ideally
leaving no promising directions unexplored
Team members build upon each others ideas


Advantages of Brainstorming
A set of individuals can collectively build on each other to
generate ideas that would not arise individually
Each member of the group contributes ideas from his or
her own viewpoint
Good team builder/morale booster
Its a great tool to start developing concepts (just dont
make it the only tool used!)


Disadvantages of Brainstorming
The right idea may not come at the right time
Group conventions may sidetrack or inhibit original ideas (Best to
have each individual generate ideas beforehand)
The team may be distracted by a misdirected focus
Certain team members may dominate the discussion
Other than encouraging out of the box thinking, there is very
little direction to actively stimulate new ideas (well cover some
tools for systematic innovation to address this)


Brainstorming Process
Form a group with 5 to 15 people (too few gives inadequate
ideas, too many can break down the group into multiple
conversations or inhibit participation)
Designate a group leader/facilitator who will solely direct
and record
Introduce the problem , then brainstorm ideas; wrap up
when stagnation is reached (30-45 minutes)
Record all the ideas generated


Brainstorming Principles

1. No criticism
2. Focus on quantity (not quality)
3. Unusual ideas are welcomed
4. Combine and improve ideas
Brainstorming is a DIVERGENT technique, later on,
screening is used as a CONVERGENT technique.
Brainstorming Screening


Brainstorming Guidelines

Provide a suitable working environment

Avoid hierarchically structured groups
Dont confine the group to experts in the area
Carefully define the problem beforehand (or at the start)
and allow time for individual thought
Do not allow the evaluation of ideas
Think wild and encourage humor
Practice applying brainstorming on real, but non-critical
problems to get good at it for the critical problems


Brainstorming Guidelines
Avoid Idea-Killer Phrases

Thats a good idea, BUT .... (insert idea-killer here)

The Boss will never go for that.
Thats a good idea, in theory.
Thats not how its done around here.
If your idea is so good, why hasnt it been done
Lets form a committee.



Walt Disneys Imagineers

Brainstorming Rules

Rule 1 - There is no such thing as a bad idea. We never know how one
idea (however far-fetched) might lead into another one that is exactly

Rule 2 - We dont talk yet about why not. There will be plenty of time for
realities later, so we dont want them to get in the way of good ideas now.

Rule 3 - Nothing should stifle the flow of ideas. Not buts or cants or
other stopping words. We want to hear words like and, or, and
what if?

Rule 4 - There is no such thing as a bad idea.

(We take that one very seriously.)




Exercise Evaluate These Brainstorming Assignments
Whats wrong with these assignments?
Use brainstorming to:

determine the best mini-van on the market.

Use Benchmarking
suggest alternative genes for circadian rhythm.
Need Expertise
propose improvements to Dr. Weavers garage.
Lack of Data
decide which shop floor suggestions well use.
Use Pugh
come up with ideas on your own.


End of Brainstorming Slides



23 Reasons Why Nothing Happens After a

Brainstorming Session
Source: The Heart of Innovation, December 4, 2010


The output of the session is underwhelming.

No one has taken the time, pre-brainstorm, to consider follow-up.
No criteria is established to evaluate the output.
No next steps are established at the end of the session.
No champions (i.e. process owners) are identified.
The champions are not really committed.
The champions are committed, but under-estimate the effort.
The ideas are too threatening to key stakeholders.
No one is accountable for results.
The project leader doesn't stay in contact with key players and "out of sight, out
of mind" takes over.
11. The "steering committee" takes their hands off the wheel.
12. The next brainstorming session is scheduled too quickly.



23 Reasons Why Nothing Happens After a

Brainstorming Session (Cont.)
Source: The Heart of Innovation, December 4, 2010


The output of the session is not documented.

No sponsors are on board.
Participants' managers are not supportive of the effort
It takes too long to document the output of the session.
The output is not distributed to stakeholders in a timely way.
Participants and stakeholders do not read the output.
Bureaucracy and company politics rule the day.
Somebody, in the session, is disengaged and sabotages the effort.
Teamwork and collaboration is in short supply.
Small wins are not celebrated. People lose heart.
Participants perceive follow-up as "more work to do" instead of a great
opportunity to really make a difference.



"One thing to bear in mind about serendipity is that you

have to be looking for something in order to find
something else."
Lawrence Block (1938- ) is an acclaimed contemporary
American crime writer who was designated as a Grand Master
by the Mystery Writers of America in 1993.
Most people only become aware of their surroundings when
they are looking for something specific. But, by cultivating a
sense of "huntfulness" all day, every day, you will not only find
what you seek, but you will also discover all kinds of
unexpected things that otherwise would have gone overlooked.
This is one of the basic, yet most important attributes that
distinguish successful, prolific innovators from the average
person on the street.

Ideaologys Innovation Quote du Jour 20080410