Copy of Playbook: Hackathon Brainstorming

Created by: Harrison Nolan, TKS Toronto
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The purpose of this playbook is to help your team brainstorm legit ideas.
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Resources for brainstorming

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Brainstorming rules (Method for brainstorming)
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Using "How might we" statements (Method for brainstorming)
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Lucid Chart (can be used for a virtual sticky exercise)
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Figma (can be used for a virtual sticky exercise and collaborative UI design)
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Sticky Notes & Whiteboard πŸ”‘
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Where will your brainstorming fail?

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🚫 You go with your first idea
Your first idea, will probably be your worst idea. The frameworks we list below help you generate great ideas to work on. When hearing about an opportunity we tend to instantly think of an idea we believe is great and attempt to convince others to work on our idea. This is the easiest way to fail. Go through the process below, complete your brainstorming and get to work πŸ”₯
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🚫 You don't challenge your own idea enough
Once you have decided an idea you wish to pursue you need to ask yourself the following questions:
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Where does this idea fail? [You need to try and break your own ideas, if they do not break and you can not see a way for them to easily fail, they are good ideas]
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Is this idea currently being implemented in the world? [If someone is already doing it, it's not innovating]
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Do we need this? [Simple question we don't ask enough. Does society really need this or does it just seem cool? You have to prove that society does nee this]
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🚫 You don't ask for help
This isn't school. In the real world, you should ask for feedback, help, advice, opinions, and you can ask anyone. Seek out people who can help you and lean on their expertise and knowledge to make your solution world class.
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Framework #1 | Brainstorming with sticky notes

🚨Before you start this, you will need sticky notes and pens for everyone in your team. It's important to have physical sticky notes because it helps bring out the creativity.
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If you follow this process, you will come out with a good idea.
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Framework #2 | Four Stage Idea Creation Machine (Hack-a-thon Style)

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Step 1: Research your technology πŸ‘©β€πŸ”¬

Research the technology. Read research papers, search for recently filed patents, and find out about new discoveries/news.
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Step 2: Pick problems and solutions 🧠

Create a list of problems and or opportunities in the world where your technology can have an impact and write down these ideas on sticky notes. Stick your ideas sticky notes on a wall so they can all be seen all at once. Don't worry too much about quality here, focus on getting as many ideas out as you can. Aim to have 15+ stickies at the end of this step.
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Step 3: Discuss ideas and eliminate ☠️

Don't spend too much time on each idea. There will be lots of bad ones and the key is to slowly eliminate the worst ideas until you are left with only a short list of great ideas. Create a criteria for deciding what is a good or bad idea (don't be subjective with your decision making). You should aim for 1-3 ideas to be remaining at the end of this step.
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Step 4: Choosing a final idea 🎯

Now it is time to validate your final idea. We validate our ideas on two fronts; feasibility and impact.
Feasibility:
Is this solution actually feasible? Does the technology necessary to build this solution currently exist? If it doesn't, can we find a way to showcase its feasibility in some way today as a proof of concept? Is it a relatively low cost solution or would this cost copious amounts of money to produce? Questions like these help us understand if this solution is actually feasible as a means for solving our problem now.
Impact:
Now that we have determined our solution is feasible we now need to measure our solution in terms of it's impact. Does this solution impact people, how much of an impact will it have? Will it change the world as we know it in a positive way or only help with a minor inconvenience? We want to optimize for higher levels of impact when we can.
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Framework #3 | Brainstorming for Questions - The Magic Book Exercise

Okay we have an idea but now we need to dig in and get informed... but where do we start?
Answer: With a Magic Book πŸ“–
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Step 1: Pretend you have a magic book in front of you πŸ“–

In this magic book are the answers to every question in the world. If you had this magic book what questions would you ask it in relation to your new idea? If you were building an app to aid with wait times at hospitals you may ask questions such as how long are wait times currently at hospitals? How do hospitals prioritize who gets seen first? And a ton of other questions as well.
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Step 2: Write down all your questions 🧐

Now write down every and any questions you might have related to your idea keeping in mind that any questions you have can be answered by your magic book so don't ask just the easy questions.
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Step 3: Answer your questions πŸ‘©β€πŸ’»

With your list of questions in hand, it's time to get your Google on! Begin to research each and every one of you questions until every question you could answer is answered. If you can't answer any questions on your own, consider reaching out to an expert or other individuals you feel may be able to help you answer questions.
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How you should feel the end of your brainstorming

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You should be psyched πŸ”₯
You and your entire team should be super excited about your idea. You should want to spend time building your project but also continue conducting research and digging deeper. If this idea doesn't excite you and inspire your curiosity it's not the right idea for you.
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You should be confident in your idea πŸ”¬
Your idea needs to be researched backed. If you are not sure if your idea can work, or if it will truly create impact, you haven't done enough research. Your ideas need to go through your own criticism to make sure it is truly a great idea for you to move forward on.
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