Love, Hate and New Ideas

Here’s a really simple introduction to design thinking and the creative process. I developed this with 160 teenage guinea-pigs at a BBC digital taster day in Teeside University this week.


It goes like this. Every student gets their own card (A5 postcard worked well – see below for download). Then give them these instructions:

  1. First, I want you to think about all the things in the digital world you really love, all the products and services. But I also want you to think about WHY you love them. Make a good list in the first box.
  2. Then I want you to think about the things you hate, things that drive you mad, not just in the digital world but any part of your life. So, write down “I hate it when…” Hate matters as much as Love because if people really hate something, they will pay you to come up with a way of avoiding it.
  3. So all this gets you thinking about new ideas. They maybe ideas that help you do more of what you love or less of what you hate. This is how designers think. This is how people come up with ideas in the digital world. And that matters because (a) it’s fun, and (b) people will pay you money for your ideas.

It always helps to tell a story to illustrate the point. I chose UBER’s foundation story (or a version of it).

Version one: There were two American entrepreneurs sitting up late one night in Paris, moaning about how hard it is to get a taxi sometimes. Imagine that’s you, in a foreign city where you don’t speak the language, can’t phone a taxi and worried that even when you find a cab, the driver will rip you off because you’re a rich tourist. They were thinking “I hate it when you can’t get a ride” and guess what idea they came up with? (At least one student will get UBER).

Version two is a bit more subtle, and I saved it til the end of the day. Remember those two American entrepreneurs, stuck at night in Paris without a taxi. Well you know what, their FIRST idea was to set up a limousine hire company. They got much further down the line before that idea turned into UBER as we know it today – an easy way to hire a cab on your smartphone. Because the truth is most new ideas don’t work at first. And the secret is, don’t be discouraged, keep trying. Don’t say “this doesn’t work”, instead say “THIS DOESN’T WORK YET“.

Download this: Love, Hate & New Ideas worksheet

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