Week Five: Thoughts on Ideas

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

Lecture Reflection: Thoughts on Ideas

There are many different ways we can generate ideas, the most common which I use is mind mapping and jotting ideas down, however, I (like many others) tend to have those “illumination” moments when out walking or cleaning the apartment. In this week's lecture, Susanna drew attention to different models that are used for thinking, two of the most notable being the Double Diamond and Six Hats.

The design process began to be taken seriously in the work of Bauhaus, in the 20th Century. Bauhaus was founded in 1919 and was an influential art and design movement. It was here where theories created revolutionised many successful companies. They also introduced exercise classes to help provoke creative thinking. There have been numerous studies that have linked exercise with creative thinking, in fact, it was philosopher Nietzche that said, “Sit as little as possible; do not believe any idea that was not born in the open air and of free movement — in which the muscles do not also revel. All prejudices emanate from the bowels.”

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/304415256060892779/

In 1963, Bruce Archer published his model for the design process which broke the design process down to, programming, data collection, analysis, synthesis, development and communication. Looking at observation, evaluation, description and transmission. Archer later defined design as being a combination of both the ‘intuitive’ and ‘cognitive.’

Image: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Bruce-Archers-Systematic-Design-Approach-Council-2007_fig1_328683360

Following on from Archers was Brian Lawson, who created the model (below). In the early sixties, many design models took on a linear thinking process.

Image: https://uxmag.com/articles/getting-more-from-analysis

The models put forward by both Archer and Lawson were widely accepted, however, the linear format was criticised for suggesting that all problems could only be solved in one hit, and so they were revised. As the world evolves at the pace it is, our thinking and processes have to evolve too. The design process of today is less scientific and more adaptable to the ever-changing needs and requirements from businesses.

The double diamond process model was created through in-house research at the Design Council in 2005. It’s divided into four distinct phases, Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver.


This is the beginning stage of the project, where the initial idea is formed.


This is the review stage, a filter that takes original ideas from the discovery stage and seeks to select and disregard. It’s here where ideas are defined and refined.


This is the testing stage; the ideas are now refined that will address the problems or issues identified during the Discover and Define stages.


This is where the final concept is signed off and launched into the relevant market.

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/98938523050863016/

Edwards De Bono is a is a Maltese physician, psychologist, philosopher, author, inventor and consultant. De Bono created ‘The Six Thinking Hats.’ This approach encourages thinking and the ability to revisit the stages within the thinking process.

Image: https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Edward_de_Bono

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/120541727516355167/

White Hat

Thought process, gathering

Red Hat

Ideas, thoughts and feelings are expressed without having to offer explanations.

Black Hat

This encourages the group to look at ideas logically, identifying weak spots and how to avoid them.

Yellow Hat

On the back of the black hat, the yellow hat is more optimistic. It encourages a more positive outlook on the idea in hand.

Green Hat

The hat of creativity, every idea should be heard and not criticised at this stage, allowing for new ideas and innovative solutions to be explored.

Blue Hat

A chairperson will now consider all the ideas put forward by the group thus far. He or she will then decide if the group needs to revisit any of the previous hats.

This approach enables all participants to be thinking about the same problem/idea at the same time, without anyone being left behind or jumping forward. Therefore, everyone is engaged with their attention all on the same task at hand.

As discussed in the week fours lecture, there are two systems for thinking (System 1 and system2). System 1 is a quick response, automatic. System 2 requires more thought and attention.

System1: could be an impulse buy at the supermarket, a packet of biscuits:

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/680747299918408111/

System 2: a bigger decision such as buying a house:

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/16184879899986704/

Thinking Processes

Mind Mapping

One of the most obvious examples of a thinking process is mind mapping. It's obvious because it isn't limited and is used universally. It's a great way to start a discussion about one particular topic which is written and available for everyone to see which limits any wondering. One person within the group can be selected to be the scribe, jotting down the ideas suggested by the rest of the group (with sub categories) whilst mediating the discussion and keeping focus aligned.

Image: http://www.thunderheadworks.com/mind-map/

Venn Diagram

Not really a process to generate ideas but Venn diagrams do help to compare and contrast ideas. This could be useful during the ideas stage or when refining ideas to help distinguish what similarities different ideas have thus making it possible to combine two.

Image: https://www.futurelearn.com/info/courses/teaching-probability/0/steps/39724

The Five Senses

I like the six thinking hats model as it shows a continual flow of ideas, discussion, questioning, testing and refining. It stood out to me that this constant flow is incorporating most of the senses. They all work with one another to enable us to get the final result desired. I want to show how along with the flow of the thinking hats the senses should also be working and acknowledged.

Image: https://www.freepik.com/premium-vector/five-senses-line-icons_6897635.htm

Homunculus diagram

Harriet lead me to the Homunculus Diagram. This diagram shows areas and proportions of the human brain dedicated to processing our motor and sensory functions .I love this visual representation of how our brain and body work.

Image: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Original-illustration-of-the-sensory-homunculus-by-Wilder-Penfield_fig2_253614317

Line Drawing

For my line drawing, I wanted to create something that was fluid. I like Edward De Bono's Six Thinking Hats as it shows that, at any point, participants could go back to any of the previous stages and revisit ideas, discussions, or questions that were raised at that stage. I think this is really important as we constantly need to refer back, even if it's just to the original question proposed or brief given.

I also want to incorporate how the five senses are used within this process too. I think we often overlook how important our own bodies are and how much they give us when creating ideas.

First Draft

I started by drawing a question mark (?) whilst thinking, ironically this became the foundation of my thinking model. I then created a diagram that mapped out the process as we do it, and as it's a thinking process I thought using a visual diagram shaped like a head was appropriate. However, this was a rough sketch and didn't show the process flowing very well.

Second Draft

I made diamond shape arrows, as a nod to the double diamond theory, and to show how the different stages go back and forth, such as thinking and observing, listening and thinking. I also made the question/brief stage into a heart as this is at the heart of the thinking process, the heart shape also fitted nicely into the theme of the diagram.

Final Draft

I added a reflective stage onto my final draft as I believe this is important. To look back on a piece of work and question if it met the brief and what could be changed, should it be tested again or do we need to think more logically and create new ideas. The model relies on fluidity although I added numbers to give more clarity on what happens at each stage.

  1. At the heart of everything is the question, the brief.

  2. Once the question/brief has been received we can begin to think both creatively and logically. We also need to communicate our thinking and listen to others, while remembering that the question/brief is at the heart. We also need to observe/research.

  3. Once we've passed stages 1 & 2 we can begin testing our idea. At this point stages 1,2, & 3 are working together. We're not drifting away from the question/brief and we're still thinking logically and creatively and observing, not just our results but sudden trends that might have an impact. As mentioned in the lecture the world is evolving at a rapid pace so it's important to constantly be on check.

  4. The reflection stage. We can look back at our question/brief, the thoughts we generated, the observations and testing.


I'm happy with how my thinking process model turned out. I really felt that the idea of being able to go back and fourth between different stages as explained in the six thinking hats model was important and felt that was crucial in incorporating in my own design.


webcache.googleusercontent.com. (n.d.). Brain Maps – The Sensory Homunculus. [online] Available at: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:y-Bx3d2f-I4J:https://www.brainfacts.org/~/media/Brainfacts/Article%2520Multimedia/Educator%2520Section/Olson%2520Handout.ashx+&cd=24&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=tw&client=safari [Accessed 8 Dec. 2020].

Wikipedia Contributors (2019). Cortical homunculus. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortical_homunculus.

44 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All