Design, Develop, Create

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Exercise: Creative Problem Solving

robot, n. The word ‘robot’ was first used in Karel Čapek’s play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), a science fiction play in the Czech language in 1921.

This exercise simulates a creative-problem-setting-solving-setting etc in teams.
Objective: Understanding theory, principles and guidelines for group brainstorming sessions.

Materials
"Lego Mindstorms" Robot Base (1 per group of 4 to 7 people).
Creativity Assessment Sheet.
One hour to run.

Technology Familiarisation Stage
1. Introduce the robot and programming tools.
2. Allocate 7 minutes for individuals to take turns familiarising with the robot's capabilities.

Play Prototype then Try 
Part 1 
1. Turn the robots OFF.
2. Problem 1 is set.
3. Allocate approximately 3 minutes for initial exploration and solution working individually. Individuals working alone write a program to solve the problem on paper.
4. Allocate approximately 5 minutes for group discussion and determination of group program.
5. Robots can now be turned ON.
6. Allocate approximately 5 minutes to program the robots and 3 minutes for the teams to demonstrate.

Part 2
1. Turn the robots OFF.
2. Problem 2 is set.
3. Robots can now be turned ON.
4. Allocate approximately 15 minutes for groups to determine own approach to solve challenge.
5. Allocate approximately 5 minutes to program the robots and 3 minutes for the teams to demonstrate.

Reflection and discussion
Was leadership difficult?
Could you put yourself forward, could you step back?
How did the team feel?
How did the team perform? On the task, overall?
Comment on behaviours that reinforced or diverged.
Was failure evident? How often? Personalised or not?
If you feel you failed do you think you learned more or less than if you hadn't?
Comment on risk taking.
Comment on the workspace.
Describe your ideal workspace; what things would be present, how would space be arranged?
Are you an 'insider', an 'outsider'?
Was 'talk time' shared? If not who didn't speak and why? If not who spoke most and why?
Does physical control of the 'things' limit collaboration?
What behaviours enable collaboration?
What is your motivation?

Additional links
In defense of brainstorming by Scott Burkin, blog post (link)
My creative process workshop 2010 (link)
A student solution (link)
UCD-TCD Innovation Academy has a module on Creative Thinking (link); Also see the module "Inspiring Creative Thinking: Didactic methods in practice" (link)

Results

Class of 2012/13 
Group IDTest 1Test 2Test 3Test 4
aOK-OK-
bOKXOK-
cOKXOK-
e1/21/2OK-
f1/41/2OK-
g1/21/21/2-
hOK1/2OK-
iOKXOK-
jOK1/2OK-

Class of 2012 
Group IDTest 1Test 2Test 3Test 4
1OKXXX
2XX1/21/2
3OKOKXX
4XX1/21/2
5OKOKXX
6OKXXX
7XXX1/2
8OKOKXX