The input phase of the process where the team learns to eat sleep and breathe the subject of the brief. In order for this to work effectively it is important that we learn to come to terms with our filters. Throughout our lives we have been developing filters through which we see the world. These filters can be broken down into:

  • Values
  • Beliefs
  • Prejudice
  • Culture
  • Language
  • Memory
  • Meta Behaviours

Each of the above contributes to who we are as individuals and how we form opinions, but in order for use to be truly divergent in our thinking we need to see past our filters and seek new experiences, ideologies and concepts. By questioning and challenging ourselves we can take our work in unexpected/unintended directions. Begin by gathering:

  • Interesting Stories
  • Videos
  • Photos
  • Articles
  • Sketches

These sources should not always be digital and the internet is only one source of great material. Books, journals and magazines have the advantage and disadvantage of being curated content which can save time and energy initially. They are also dated time capsules making it easier to spot trends both past and present.

These sources are triggers for thoughts, memories, conversations, from which a thousand ideas can grow. It is important that we check our filters when viewing sources and make sure that we are not unknowingly editing out source material without being daft and letting everything in regardless of relevance.

Get out and experience the real world, be empathetic, meet the people who may ultimately interact with the product of the brief. Explore the environment which will be effected by the product. Take pictures, videos and notes, try to understand the human needs of the design process be an anthropologist. Understand the who and where before addressing the what, why or when.

Is the brief something completely revolutionary or are their other product/services already available that are close to or already fulfil the requirement of the brief. If so what are they? What can we learn from them? How are they performing? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Should we stand on the shoulders of giants? What would a completely new offering look, sound, taste, smell or feel like?

Inspirations should be shared visibly and openly with the group. Avoid any urge to protect or hide good sources for personal gain, thinking they might come in handy later. Instead look around at the inspirations added by the team and bounce off them in order to build on their influence. Acknowledge and encourage the ideas you like, refrain from criticism or discouragement at any stage. Talk openly with each other throughout the process, rather then work silently in corners.

Creating Whitespace—Identifying Themes

The second step of the Inspire phase is to organize the insights developed by the team. Each Postit is moved individually and discussed by the team as it is placed beside notes to which it has something in common. As each note is organised whitespace is created and the clusters/themes become clearly defined. Each team is then asked to develop a narrative to describe and establish the relationships, if any there is between each clusters/theme.

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