HashedIn User Experience Team comprises of a good mix of designers with varied background ranging from print to new media. This team structure helps us to ideate and solve a design problem at ease. Brainstorming plays a critical part of “the day in the life of an HashedIn UX Designer”.
Though most of us are aware of the various models to conduct Team Brainstorming, their pros and cons, I wish to just detail out a few.
- Speedstorming – This is a way to generate quick ideas from a small group of people within a limited window of time. Each person ideates for 5 mins and then passes the thought to the next person. The new person will flesh out more thoughts on the previous ideas and make them flourished.
- Focus Groups – This method will help to get a greater breadth of the concept with the help of focused group of people (preferably with the same demographic). This focused group a.k.a the stakeholders ideate and then collect all ideas on a specific problem.
- Team Brainstorming – This is usually carried out with a larger group. The group is divided into smaller teams with people having competitive spirits. Each team ideates and collectively present their concept to the other teams.
While each technique has proven benefits, they have demerits as well like the following
- These models become less effective as it depends on qualitative choices like people, their sentiments and schedules.
- People sometimes show emotional quotient (EQ) more than their intelligent quotient (IQ).
- Too many ideas might defocus the team or the problem and converging to a viable solution may become dizzy.
To control the chaos and bring a “method-to-madness”, Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats comes to rescue. To give a quick context, this technique makes each person in the brainstorming team to wear a specific hat which conditions the natural thinking process to something rule-based and process-oriented. This technique helps in “faster, more rationalized and innovative” solutioning.
At HashedIn UX, we follow this model religiously for every brainstorming session. Every designer is given a hat to wear based on his innate character and passion. The following are the hats we designed for the team.
The White Hat (aka The Detective)
Wearing the white hat, the designer will think of facts, figures and numbers around the problem being discussed. He needs to analyse the past trends and help us to either fill gaps or take advantage of them. Sachin (Senior UX Designer) is the man who could handle this kind of role with ease. He has a degree in Bachelor of Fine Art and comes with 7 years of relevant industry experience. He is drawn to the experience of the people and the happiness they get from it. His focus is to flourish and succeed through working collaboratively, undertaking research, envisioning solutions, designing, building, testing, delivering and gathering insights. He has a fact and reason for every designs he created. He is the man who is curious to know the why’s of the problem. This will always make him end up in a heap of research.
The Red Hat (aka The Heart)
Wearing a red hat, you look at the problems using your intuition, emotions and reaction. This hat stands for your heart and hence it does not have/need any logic. The designer wearing this hat must primarily follow his instincts. Our feelings are very interesting and mysterious, that’s why this hat suit perfect for Sijo (Senior UI/UX Designer). He graduated in Multimedia Design and comes with 4 years of relevant industry experience. He is passionate about Motion graphics & Micro-Interactions. He has a keen eye for detail. He is flexible, quick learner & team player. He is the person who speaks from his heart first when he tries to solve a problem. He feels more than he thinks.
The Black Hat (aka The Reaper)
For any effective problem solving we need to proactively identify the pitfalls and loopholes of possible solutions. This is the responsibility of the black hat bearer. This designer needs to question all the suggestion coming from others and helps to effectively eliminate those possibilities to create an unstable solution. For asking those kind of question we need someone with wide range of capabilities and who has walked through many paths. A strong background in User Centered Design Principles and expertise in Lean & Agile UX, Noorul (Senior Design Manager) is the perfect candidate for asking the right question and help us to find the fact and reasons to establish a firm base for our suggestions. Graduating in technology and General Management, he has spent close to 15 years in the UX industry. He follows the double-diamond model of problem solving which diverges on thoughts to converge on solution. When it comes to using the black hat, he brings down the team’s ideas on various aspects by his judgement. However the final outcome will catapult the team with more concrete and viable solutions.
The Yellow Hat (aka The Sun)
This designer should have an optimistic view of all the thoughts and suggestions shared in the discussion. The bearer of this hat is like the Sun that should be giving life to all the ideas and concepts that come up. Since this hat is so powerful, we need more than one head to think and guide as through. So we chose Sanal Krishna (Senior UX Designer) and Vishnu (UX Designer) to help us with their positive, welcoming, and radiant energy. Sanal has a B.Sc Multimedia degree in Design and comes with 4+ years of relevant industry experience. Sanal is a reliable and diligent UI/UX Designer, specially visual graphics. He is the one, who likes working at a quick pace. Spends free time illustrating, gaming & playing table tennis. Vishnu comes with 2 years of experience and has a Bachelor degree in Computer Science and Engineering. He is a man of action with a curious eye towards human-centered design and loves football. These guys drive on a motto of “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.
The Green Hat (aka The Seedling)
The owner of the green hat needs to empower the discussion with the endless creative thoughts. It is freewheeling thinking, in which there is little criticism of ideas but more focus on idea generation. The designer who has the green hat will guide us in a new direction from the existing idea. Moreover, he must be a “possibility” thinker who persistently thinks outside-the-box and bends the rules of problem-solving. For this type of role we have the perfect person in our team, Subin (Design Lead). He has a Bachelor degree in Computer Engineering and comes with 8 years of relevant industry experience. A passionate and innovative Product Designer who has the ability to identify opportunities and then translate those to digital platforms and products. He leans towards Human Centric Design methodologies and apply them in the day to today objects. This guy has the endless perception from a single point like a seedling. He is the person who we contact first when we discuss some new design strategy because he has the experience and mindset to see a problem from million viewpoints.
The Blue Hat (aka The Whistleblower)
The designer wearing this hat should be someone who controls all the other hat bearers. He has to shift the conversation between each of the hats so that the flow of the discussion is seamless and never runs dry. For effective problem solving, we need a method for directing their thoughts in proactive ways. This role is similar to a movie director. One name that rings a bell for this kind of character is Sourav Acharya (Senior UX Designer). Sourav has a Bachelor degree in Design and comes with 4 years of relevant industry experience. This guy always work with a To-Do list and guidelines so that he can work in a more efficient and organised manner. This way he could bring more productivity and less procrastination.