Out of the 2, I’d say I was closer to the 2nd one.
I’ve never agreed with that mud on the wall type of ideation. I was taught how to refine my direction, focus on the goal and get to it pretty directly with the majority of the concepts being appropriate to the task. I don’t need to come up with 100 ideas to find 5 solutions to the problem. Out of 10-15 ideas I’ll get 5 totally appropriate ones that satisfy the brief. But that very popular mud technique seems to be one that assumes your designers don’t have good judgement calls. So you have them come up with as many numbers as possible and then the manager or whoever it is that does have the “good judgement” gets to pick what’s appropriate. It’s a good way to have interns or innexperienced designers to work because they normally haven’t developed the good judgement yet. But for anyone with experience I think it’s unnecessary and actually encourages innappropriate designs and lack of focus for the sake of filling up wall space.
I wouldn’t quite agree that there is 1 perfect solution to the problem, there are different ways to skin a cat equally well. But I do agree that there aren’t that many perfect solutions. So with that being said, why there’s such a big emphasis on quantity of barely thought out sketches instead of a directed focus on the goal is beyond me. When I get dressed I don’t need to try on every possible combination of the clothes I have to come up with an appropriate outfit for the occasion.
I’m not sure exactly how the interaction design process is, but the way I do it is to come up with a list of “givens” that the designs have to hit to accomplish the mission, basically focal points. Every concept has to hit those marks, maybe a few only have to hit some marks until we figure how to incorporate the rest. If you take time when developing those criteria, it pays off because all of your concepts will be appropriate. Doing it this way, I’ve never had a comment like “this isn’t right for our customer”, or “yeah it’s cool, but it’s not the direction we want”, etc… The only discussion after is about the more subjective artistic aspects which aren’t exactly right or wrong.
Unfortunately I don’t get to use that process too much anymore. Places seem to follow that “shoot as many bullets as possible in the dark, then see what hits” process. Either that or they do lists and word association, first response techniques to get mass numbers of random ideas to then see what might fit the bill the best. So they get frustrated with me because I’m not generating the volume they want, I get frustrated because they won’t let me think and use my critical thinking, and expect me to draw unfocused concepts that I know are unnappropriate for the sake of having a lot of stuff to choose from. For me it’s bad because I have a more direct and focused mentality. I’m not always buzzing with wild untamed ideas, so I can’t (and don’t want to) turn off my critical thinking and decision-making ability for the sake of generating numbers to then turn over to someone else to think and decide for me.
I don’t know if I’m right, but I believe that a lot of those concept generating techniques were designed to get creative work out of non-creative people. With them, you have them tap into their subconcious so they can come up with “strange” ideas that their “dry mind” normally couldn’t think of. But creative people already have control over that area, so to me they should be working on how to be more focused and to the point with appropriate concepts instead of staying in the untamed realm. The only time I would advise for creatives to do that is when they’re stuck for ideas and can’t get out of a rut. But it shouldn’t be standard practice the way it is in a lot of places. It’s like it was a manual to execs on how to get good work out of your wild, unfocused, crazy designers who don’t have a grasp of reality. To me it’s extra work for no extra benefit except a busy wall and thick process book. Maybe that’s why people get burnt out. I would too if I had to cook a sample of everything in my kitchen to test each one before I make a final decision on what to eat at every meal.
Sorry for my rant, I’m just curious if I’m the only one that feels that way. I get my best work done when I plot, plan, strategize(real word?), and focus on direct goals instead of closing my eyes and swinging wildly.