The Superglue Workshop was an in-class activity meant to get all of us students actively engaged with ideation & communication techniques used in design thinking. I love these kinds of classes, where we get up, get active, and really push ourselves creatively.
Ashley provided prompts, without too much information about the final destination. For me, this was key in that I stayed present in the process. I tend to overthink, overanalyze and think about ideal outcomes before I have even allowed myself to dig deep in the ideation phase.
The class was organized into random teams. I was grouped with Alex & Aaron. Teams were tasked with writing down common scenarios in which communication is challenging. We went to the white board and each wrote down our own ideas, based on personal experience, in a column on a shared board.
Next, we looked at our columns and identified shared themes. Our team selected people having miscommunication over money, and this became the context we used for the remaining activities.
Ashley asked each team to create “How might we_____?” questions related to our context, that posed a direction towards a solution. The questions were to be written on post-its and quantity was the focus.
Our team did well with quantity, and no idea was too silly or mundane to include.
Next, each team was asked to connect ideas into a short narrative. By grouping three post-its and adding words between, a potential solution appears. We grouped as many ideas as possible, again without judging the process.
Each team selected three groupings to used for storyboarding, and here is where superglue came into play. Each story required superglue as the product placement that led to improved communication. Each member of our team selected one story and quickly drew a three panel board. We consulted with one another about the focus, superglue placement, and how best to capture the concept.
Aaron’s story (top): A couple is fighting over money. How about we…use sex to replace the fighting? The couple is “superglued” by increased intimacy.
My story (bottom): A couple fights over money because the wife makes more money than the husband. The husband gets mocked by friends, turns to booze and crashes his car. The husband is sentenced to counseling, which “superglues” the couple together.
Alex’s story (right): A rich & selfish man watches Slumdog Millionaire. He is moved by the extreme poverty of the characters. He has an epiphany and sells all his belongings. He moves to India and starts a charitable foundation to help the indigenous people.
The final part of the workshop was to see the other teams’ work. We walked around and looked at storyboards. It was interesting to see the variety and how each team responded to the challenge. It was obvious that each team had different results, and different strengths during the workshop process: some had few ideas, some had detailed storyboards, some were funny, some more serious.
For me, the workshop was really instructive, mainly because it was challenging. As mentioned, I struggle with “letting go” during the ideation phase of design thinking. This workshop topic was somewhat odd and that combined with the pace, but me in a vulnerable place. I wasn’t researched or brainstorming topics that are my area of expertise – far from it! Being put in that position, especially in a group dynamic, forces me to be in the moment and just go for it! This exercise really demonstrated how fun and productive one can be if you allow yourself the freedom to explore, the freedom to not overthink, and the freedom to push against constraints.