What does it mean to brainstorm topics? Next steps for co-creation

By:  renee   |  Posted: March 2, 2014   |  Updated: April 17, 2023

I noticed that many of the topics from our last meetup were framed as solutions or ideas for solutions — not as topics or areas on which we might want to collaborate as a group. I thought it would be useful to discuss the differences between topics and solutions, and share my thoughts on what we might tackle next as a group.

While reading through the meeting notes and categories of topic suggestions that Richard Caro provided from the second Meetup on the Future of Ageing, I noticed that many of the topics were framed as solutions or ideas for solutions  — not as topics or areas on which we might want to collaborate as a group.

Solutions vs Topics

Coming up with solutions or ideas around a particular technology or product – first — before identifying and understanding peoples’ needs, gaps or aspirations is actually quite common. As someone that does both qual and quant research for the purpose of longer-term business strategy and product development, I see this happen all of the time.  Whenever there is a group of passionate, talented and skilled enthusiasts, it is easy to jump into the solution space before being clearer about what we see as the needs of people.

Brainstorming for Next meeting

For the next meeting, I suggest, and Richard agrees, that we do more brainstorming on what needs we think people have. We are jumping ahead of ourselves and it’ll be well worth co-creating a stronger foundation for ideas and solutions to emerge (at a later meeting) by first taking the time to identify needs. We can use the BUT model, which stands for Business, User (people) and Technology.

Once we have brainstormed a gaggle of needs, we can then cluster them into larger areas – with additional drill downs  — about which needs we really would like to address (perhaps by voting). It is only then that we can think about which technologies or solutions are possible and which business models/benchmarking make sense.

Some topic and solution examples

For a couple of easy examples, one might say “To stay in touch with family and friends,” or “To stay physically active”. For those that already have ideas for solutions, aim to frame the solution in terms of needs, gaps, or aspirations — “To use well designed products that look and feel good” (just because we’re aging, doesn’t mean our products should look like that too). I also noticed that some people felt that they didn’t have ideas. Part of the reason for why this was happening is because we haven’t clearly defined a larger set of needs. The ideas will emerge from better understanding needs first.

What ages are we targeting?

Aside, I am also wondering if we want to brainstorm needs for a continuation of age brackets. Are we focusing only on people 65 -70 and beyond? For example, if we are aiming for aging in place, this means that we’re also thinking of people that are still active and who want to prepare for aging in their home or in a community. Are we focusing only on mature markets (e.g., US, Europe, Japan)?

See you at the next meeting.


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