Design workshop – Creativity Through Disruption

Designers often approach their work linearly, defining the outcome at the creation of the design brief. Consequently, the end result often merely visualizes the predetermined idea agreed upon in the brief. While the design may meet standards, it frequently lacks originality and that spark that makes it unique.

People tend to think along established paths, often shaped by their experiences and knowledge. This tendency also applies to the design process. Designers frequently create what they know, and are accustomed to. However, this way of thinking rarely results unexpected ideas or innovative solutions. When designers leave these familiar paths of thinking, new creative ideas arise.

In this workshop, I advocate for a shift away from the linear design process with predictable results, urging designers to embrace experimentation and unexpected results. This creative process requires the designer to adapt a different mindset — one that embraces risk-taking and is unafraid of making mistakes.

The workshop is structured around various design and creative thinking methods: the Morphological Matrix, Forced Fit, Deconstruction-Reconstruction, Empathize, and Provocate.

Each method disrupts the design process in its unique way, encouraging designers to think differently and approach problems from various perspectives.

The workshop

Deconstruction – Reconstruction
This method of generating ideas involves deconstructing materials or objects and creating something new with a different meaning and purpose.

Start by taking a walk and gathering discarded materials found on the street or in bulky waste containers. Choose items like a metal net, a cardboard tube, foam from a mattress, a juice carton, or a broken umbrella—anything that sparks inspiration for you.

Examine the materials closely. What are they? What capabilities or properties do they possess? What functions do they serve? Disassemble one chosen object into its components and then use its parts to construct a new object, replacing the original artifact. Give it a new purpose and function.

Document each step of your design process thoroughly.

Forced Fit
The main concept of this method involves forced fitting of you existing idea or design with a completely different one. For example:

What if your design is intended to evoke a feeling of sadness?
What if your design is meant to evoke a feeling of joy?
What if your design is larger than a building? How might it appear?
What if your design is as stretchable as chewing gum? What function would it serve?
What if your design is a service?
What if your design is situated on the moon?
What if your project is a space that users must navigate through (for example, a tunnel, elevator, waiting area…)?
What if your project conveys a political message (about climate change, the right-wing shift in Europe, migration, housing shortage)?

Reflect on the designs. Which one is the most relevant?

Select one design created from the forced-fit method. Use this idea as a foundation to create a new design aimed at provoking. It’s about pushing boundaries, creating a design that is on the edge of norms. Evoke strong emotions and sparking discussion. Challenge societal assumptions, cultural norms, or expectations in order to encourage reflection, conversation, or change. Remember you can always take a step back.

An effective method of creating ideas is to imagine yourself as a different profession. How would an astronaut approach the design? How would an musician, exhibition curator, climate activist or dancer approach the design?