A brainstorming technique: The in between

A protein shake to your creative muscles

Photo by Morgan Housel on Unsplash

You found your problem. You created a HMW (how might we) statement. Now is time for the brainstorm.

You look at the yellow post-it with hunger, the first 3 ideas flow faster than the hyperloop. Your sharpie is waiting for more action, while its unmistakable aroma travels to your nostrils. Your hand doesn’t move, your brain is trying to find more ideas. Another minute passes and you grow anxious. You still have 10 min to go and nothing comes to your mind!

If you have been there, you are not alone. It is difficult to continue when you don’t have some sort of limitation or trick to help you stay away from your normal thought pattern.

One thing I tend to do is a variation of Combination, that is part of the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. technique used in brainstorms.

When combining asks the question “What would happen if we combined X and Y?”, the in between aks the question “What are the states in between X and Y?

For example, lets say I found that my Amazon parcels are stolen by someone. I’ve tried to find out who that person is by planting a camera around, but he is always wearing a mask (*bastard!).

So I write “How might we find out who steals my Amazon parcels?”

First of all I would think of the events, people, objects and technologies involved.

I know that:

  • Amazon delivers the package in a box
  • Is a cardboard box
  • I have an ETA of the package
  • I can track (GPS) where the package is before is delivered
  • A delivery man brings the package to the door
  • The package is put on a safe space on the porch because I’m not there
  • I receive a notification that my package has been delivered
  • A man comes out of nowhere and grabs the package on the porch
  • My camera captures the incident

Time to pick 2 things that can work to catch the thief.

  1. Camera
  2. Door

What are the states in between camera and door?

  • A door that makes camera sounds when someone approaches
  • A door that captures on when the door is open.
  • A door that records and reflects your own image while you are in front of it
  • A door that records events and plays them back in slow motion
  • A door displays recordings of people looking from inside when a suspicious person approaches the door.

And so on and so forth.

So you can see that I took some features of a modern camera and combined them with a door to make sure to catch or prevent someone from stealing my Amazon packages.

A way of thinking of this technique is a dial where you can travel from X to Y.

I hope this technique is useful! Cheers.

Explorimentalist is the curious creative ego of Ngatye Brian Oko that explores technology from the human side. Find more at www.makara.xyz