Attribute Listing

In class, we talked about a method that allows the generation of new and creative ideas through a unique method known as attribute listing. One first goes through a brainstorming process with a specific problem topic in mind, trying to come up with a variety of ideas in a short amount of time. Afterwards, you collect the most unique ideas that don’t overlap, combining with other similar ideas when necessary. With this list of unique ideas, the goal of attribute listing is to take this list and expand on it to further generate new ideas. One takes this list and looks at it from afar, thinking of categories that the list holds, such as tech, methods, and so on. After finding a few categories from the list, you categorize specific terms from the ideas in the list into the categories. Then one can go through and pick a number at random for each of the categories, and for each respective number, go down a category and choose that word in that numbered spot. With these chosen words, you go ahead and ideate again using the combination of the chosen words, and keep repeating the number at random process. This process is very useful for generating new ideas when one is stuck after brainstorming, and was mentioned in class as a magic trick for idea generation.

For example, in class we described our problem as Eating Healthy Food. Everyone in the class took 5 minutes to brainstorm solutions using technology to try to help individuals eat more healthy types of food. After 5 minutes, we gathered all combinations of unique ideas from the class and wrote them into our Food Ideas List. From there we thought of three categories (Tech, Mech, and When) and then took words from the list that fit under the specific categories, like below:

Tech: App, Chrome ext., AR, wearables, location services, smart cookware

Mech: Automate, discourage, rewards, aspiration, info encouragement, social media, instructions

When: Buying ingredients, after meal, during/just before meal

We then picked random numbers and ended up with the combination AR – Info – Buying Ingredients, and went into idea generation for this combination, and repeated the process.

Contributed by Krystian Jurkowski, Siqi Liu, and Manav Khandelwal.

About the author: Manav Khandelwal

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