Stanford Quarterly Co – DSC06


I have to say, when I receive my Stanford Deign School Quarterly Co shipments it feels a little bit like early Christmas.  I did an introductory post on the shipments, but essentially the boxes are created by Stanford Dschool to give you a peek inside their design thinking methodologies and activities.

This month the challenge read as follows, “Your challenge is to construct a light sculpture using the elements provided.  Vary the number of pieces you use and you’ll discover both a different product and process.”  This particular activity has been part of the “Creative Gym” class at the dSchool so it was exciting to have it sitting on my kitchen table.  Inside the box there was a socket and identically shaped and sized inter-lockable plastic pieces.

I definitely underestimated the difficulty of the challenge (luckily I had a whole Saturday afternoon to attempt it).  I played around with the pieces and made a few different shapes.  At first I thought there was one answer for how to interlock them, and while true (straight edge to curved edge), there were many ways to connect the pieces differently.  I ultimately decided I would try to use them all in a pattern where each “corner” had 5 interlocking edges.  While I thought I was making a more spherical shape, what resulted was more of a “cranium” but I think this was appropriate given how much this challenge stretched my mind so I decided to keep it.

It was amazing how many different outcomes could result from seemingly identical inputs used in different ways, overall a great innovation lesson.

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IDEO Method Card Review


I’ve had my IDEO cards for a while (and in fact IDEO originally published these cards in 2003!).  The deck includes 51 different methods straight from the design firm to help you innovate and create.   They are a longstanding resource in the field of innovation and ideation and an essential tool to keep in your Innovation Toolkit.    My favorite part of these cards is how they are divided into 4 sections; “Learn”, “Look”, “Ask” and “Try”.  Depending on the help you need you can easily flip through these cards and try out the activities detailed on one side or get inspired by the colorful pictures on the other.

You can buy them on Amazon or download it on the App Store.


Quarterly Co. dSchool


I recently started subscribing to Stanford dSchool’s Quarterly Co. subscription and just received by first exciting shipment.  The dSchool’s mailings are meant to provide a new creative experience delivered to your door every quarter.  The box aims to help you “a) see differently; b) act radically; and c) have some good old-fashioned fun.”  This is a great way to get a peek into the dSchool’s process and access exclusive activities and materials straight from the school.

This quarter the experience is focused on “Sketching”, a key creative skill set and something I’ve had on my list to improve.  The kit contained a couple notebooks (one meant to act as a guide with sketching lessons/prompts), pencils, a pen, a bullet shaped pencil sharpener and an elastic band to hold it all together.  I’m really excited by the kit and eager to jump in and start putting my skills to the test






Apps for Ideation


Ideation is an important part of all Innovation processes and I have collected a number of my favorite iPhone/iPad apps that can help you both generate and capture your ideas.


Oflow is one of my favorite apps to go to when I need some inspiration or need to try a new method to generate ideas.  Not only is the design sleek, but there are over 150 different methods and activities that you can try.  You can also email your favorite methods and takes notes as you go. iTunes


Concept Maker

This app features a good set of Inspiration Cards, a Random Inspiration section that generates photos, an Idea Clock which challenges you to complete a certain number of inspiration cards in a set timeframe as well as a Notes feature.  The app is bright cheery and fun, just what you need to generate ideas.  iTunes


This app has a vintage feel and is quite fun. First pick your brain size (correlated to the difficulty of the vocabulary), press “Go!” and you will get three random words to prompt your creativity. iTunes


Idea Generator

Idea Generator is another random word generating app but has a few unique features.  First, it has a ton of words! Second, when you randomize the three wheels of words, you can lock certain words.  I use this one the most to come up with new ideas. iTunes



As someone who generates ideas wherever I am I have really enjoyed this app.  You can set reminders, take pictures, document regular text notes, make voice recordings and even develop checklists and you can categorize all these documents into “spaces”.  It is easily searchable and you can share your notes or spaces with other people. iTunes



I downloaded this app recently and have loved the structure it has given me around my ideas, not to mention it is beautifully designed.  While the app is geared primarily for new business ideas, I think it can be used to structure anything from new products to internal intrapreneurship. iTunes



Thoughtback is a really unique concept when it comes to both capturing and recalling ideas.  As you go throughout your day you can add ideas, quotes, thoughts,pictures or observations to the app and categorize them with hashtags.  Then the app stores these ideas and at some random point in the future will ping your entry back to you.  It’s a great idea to re-inspire yourself!   iTunes