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Adapting the Fast Idea Generator tutorial video

Based on user feedback and our experience in the field, we are going to be updating the Fast Idea Generator video tutorial in the new year.




The DIY toolkit was conceived as a collaborative work-in-progress. It is just the start of a wider project to initiate innovation learning and knowledge sharing across the international development sector.


The innovation space is, in virtue of itself, fast moving; we know that we need to be agile to keep the DIY toolkit content relevant. We are already learning about adaptations to our tools, and about tools that we haven’t included in version 1. To quote Lucy Kimbell in Social Design Methods Menu, we are “in perpetual beta”.


In that spirit we are revisiting the Fast Idea Generator (FIG). FIG is a tool to help individuals and teams generate ideas by looking at a problem or opportunity from a range of perspectives. Comprised of nine approaches, the tool provides a structured framework to think through many possibilities, and acts as a stimulant to discussion.


Throughout this year we have delivered a large number of workshops around the world with organisations including UNDP, British Council and DfID. The FIG tool underpins these workshops, and as we learn about different cultures and audiences we have learned to be adaptive with how we use it. Participants have universally found the exercise challenging and enlightening, but we often receive feedback that the tool is hard to understand at first. Sometimes people struggle to apply the nine approaches to the opportunity or challenge they are working on.


This can only be harder without facilitation. The FIG is the third order tramadol hcl most downloaded tool on the website, and our three-minute video tutorials were produced to contextualise the use of the tools with case studies and to provide some facilitation guidance. The videos have proved to be very popular. Yet something about the FIG tutorial jarred. We couldn’t pinpoint what it was.


During a recent workshop with DfID and partners in Delhi, India, we briefly explained how to use the tool and played the video for participants. The video instructs users to fill out the ‘normal rule’ column, and then bend and break the rules according to nine approaches in the hope of generating lots of ideas very quickly. As per the instructions, participants began using the FIG template by thinking about how the system worked currently.


Participants found the two-pronged approach very difficult. Their conversations were constrained and limited by the effort to identify the rules, often implicit, in the different operational aspects of their everyday work. We realised that the tutorial guidance to begin with the ‘normal rule’ added a layer of unnecessary complexity to the tool. People can work much better and more fruitfully simply by using the nine approaches from the outset. The different approaches then act as creative prompts to think about ways to stretch how the system works. As a result we are editing the video and expect to have a new video ready early in 2015.


We would love to hear feedback from you about other ways that we can improve and refine the toolkit. Please do get in touch with us at [email protected].



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