Where Do Humans Need?

The goals of this workshop:

  1. To inspire fresh and disruptive thinking that transcends our tendency to be distracted by our own problems and by the clever things that have already been done by others.

We will endeavor to push ourselves toward our own conceptual frontiers and to build on the ideas of others to make our way into parts unknown.

Fresh out of the gates

Form groups of three. Each group gets a deck of “problems can be found here” cards. Deal each player 3 cards.
(3 minutes, solo) Round 1. Each person turns over a card and either writes that problem area or one of her own devising that it inspires on a post it. Repeat for next two cards. Then create two additional “problems can be found here” areas of your own. At this point each person has something like this:


(5/8) One by one, team members reveal a problem area within the team, posting it to white board. Put similar ideas (be liberal in calling similar areas the same) on top of one another. Arrange clusters on board to give some sense of similarity/difference. Yield of this step will look something like this.


(2/10) As a group, pick the most interesting five problem areas, label them clearly, remove the others and arrange the five into a circle.


Now move your whole group one place to the left (that is, you will now be looking at the most interesting five problems that the group to your right came up with).

Deliberating difference to find problems worth solving

(2/14)As a group, look over your new circle of topics. For the next round, each group member will select on of the five areas and formulate a problem WORTH SOLVING in that area subject to an announced constraint.

(5/19)CONSTRAINT 1. Select one area and propose a problem worth solving experienced by humans who are a different age than you in your chosen area. Write the problem on a post it in a declarative statement about a need that real people experience (see below for example).


Add it to the diagram as shown (substituting the need for the words shown). Each team member must choose an area not already chosen. When each has proposed a problem, move on to the next step.

AREA: news media CONSTRAINT: age NEED: if reading media is increasingly digital, does that leave seniors overly dependent on audio/video?

(5/24)Repeat for CONSTRAINT 2: Pick an area and name a problem worth solving experienced by humans who are much less well off than you in your own community (SES).

(5/29)Repeat for CONSTRAINT 3: Pick one area and name a problem worth solving experienced humans who have an occupation/job you will never have (JOB).

(5/34)Repeat for CONSTRAINT 4: Pick one area and name a problem worth solving experienced humans who live in the developing world (DEV).

(5/39)Repeat for CONSTRAINT 5: Pick one area and name a problem worth solving experienced humans who are differently abled from you (ABLE).


(5/44)Go around the room and pick your five favorite and write a how might we statement each inspires on the “Problems Worth Solving” worksheet.


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