How We Do It

Andi Cheung

How We Do It is a series of research and product explorations that investigate themes of originality, creativity and idea generation within the ITP community.

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Dan MacIsaac, "An Introduction to Action Research," 1995, (22/03/1998).

Osborn, A. F. (1953). Applied imagination.

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Root-Bernstein, R., & Root-Bernstein, M. (2003). Intuitive tools for innovative thinking. The International Handbook on Innovation, , 377–387.

Stringer, E. Action research. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Personal Research Journal
Throughout the course of this project, I maintained a daily research journal of ideas, thoughts, findings and blocks. The research journal is a personal case study outlining a detailed account of my own experiences in project development. It is forms a linear narrative of my thought processes, the people I’ve interacted with and the changes in design directions.

ITP Thesis Blog
All students enrolled in thesis are required to maintain a weekly journal on the ITP Thesis Blog. The blog is accessible to all students participating in thesis. Blogging is a form of tracking and documentation for work-in-progress. The blog is a valuable source of information that was used throughout this project.

Formal Interviews
A continuous series of formal interviews were conducted within the first two weeks of the thesis process.

Informal Interviews
Several informal conversations and interviews took place over the course of nine weeks. I spoke with students one-on-one about project progress, feedback received by faculty and peers, and any difficulties they encountered in the process. Notes from informal meetings are described in my personal research journal.

Focus Groups
A group of four students participated in a focus group off the floor (outside of ITP). The focus group met three times over the course of 14 weeks, once at the beginning, middle and end to discuss their thoughts, perception, opinions and beliefs around their experiences with their individual projects.

Product Evaluations
Four commercial solutions for idea generation were tested and evaluated with ITP students and alumni. This was an exploration of how a prescribed structure support or stifles an individual’s creative process. For each product test, a survey was distributed to evaluate the experience.

External Experts
Three external consultants not affiliated with ITP review the research and compare findings to observations within the field. External experts help determine which conditions are specific to the ITP context and which are unique to the program.

Formal Brainstorming Session
A formal, facilitated brainstorming session was observed in the Be Here Now class. The session adhered to Osborn’s brainstorming definition. At the end of the session, a survey was administered to determine the perceived effectiveness of the session.

A paper prototype was developed at the end of each action cycle. This design phase is an extension to the action research process. The prototype underwent revisions after each action cycle. The prototype was an action that could test my assumptions or theories. The prototype is a tangible product used to focus user attention on a specific task and allows non-verbal patterns of behavior to naturally emerge.