USING CREATIVITY ACTIVITIES
A1: WHAT IF?
What If!!! is a creativity technique which students can
use to generate ‘fresh ideas’ and provide them
with a new perspective on a problem. This activity provides
students with a practical tool that can be used to support
idea generation and help with problem solving. Creativity
techniques like this enable students to build on each other’s
ideas and encourage new ways of thinking - which is
an important element of successful ecodesign.
SUITABILITY FOR A/S and A2 STUDENTS
This activity can be used with both AS and A2 level students.
More guidance from the teacher may be required for AS students.
WHEN TO USE THE ACTIVITY
This technique is useful for when students are trying
to generate ideas. It is ideal to use this type of
tool to support the idea generation phase of ecodesign which
place after the students have identified which areas
of the redesign they wish to focus on. For example when using
Ecodesign Web they might have identified that they
need to focus on ‘energy reduction’ and ‘materials
usage’. What If!!! can be used to generate ideas around
IS IT FOR GROUPS OR INDIVIDUALS?
With creativity techniques it is often much more beneficial
for students to work in groups - though as individuals
become more proficient, they can start to use them on their
own. Working in groups allows the students to build on each
others ideas and develop new solutions (e.g. 1 + 1 = 3).
VALUES ISSUES CONSIDERED
This activity can be tailored to be used for any situation
where idea generation is required, so is appropriate for supporting
environmental and social/cultural and economic issues.
ASSESSMENT CRITIERIA MET
What If!!! is a support activity that can be used in
conjunction with other elements within sustainable design
projects. Taking part in the activity should demonstrate to
the students that there are different ways of generating ideas
and it is often possible to generate a huge range of new ideas
easily. This technique also demonstrates the benefits of sharing,
rather than being secretive with ideas.
THE ACTIVITY AND HINTS ON HOW TO ORGANISE IT
|Divide the class into small groups (min 3-
max 7) and set them up around large tables.
|Give each group a couple of large sheets of paper (A2)
and each student a marker
|If this activity is to be used to support an ecodesign
redesign activity then make sure that you know what product
the class/ different groups are looking at and which elements
they are trying to improve. For this activity it is useful
to pick one improvement option and focus on this. Each group
can focus on a different improvement option.
| Ask the groups to write their improvement option on a
large sheet of paper (alternatively if they are all looking
at the same issues, write this on the board - e.g.
energy reduction). It is important that the students can
see this during the exercise.
|Outline the rules: do not criticise, be as
crazy as you like, listen to each other, have fun.
| Then ask the students to generate a whole
bunch of ‘What if…’ questions related
to the improvement option that they are considering, e.g.
if they were looking at energy reduction they might ask
|‘What if…we wanted to do the opposite?’
|‘What if…money was no object?’
|‘What if…we needed the solution tomorrow?’
| ‘What if…there was no oil left in the world?’
| It is very useful to give them a few examples
of ‘What if…’ questions and have a few
more up your sleeves for prompting with later.
|Ask the students to write the ‘What
if…’ questions on the large sheet of paper - encourage
them to talk and work together.
|As they start to generate questions, ask them
to also come up with possible solutions to their questions,
| “What if there was no oil left…?
We could use alternative technology like solar or wind”
We could walk/ride a bike”
|The answers will depend on what product they are looking
|It works well if they have the questions and
answers on one page, linked with arrows.
| It is a good idea to walk around the different
groups and help them out during the session. Generally once
they get on a role they are ok, but groups sometimes get
stuck and need a push.
|By the end of the session the groups will
have generated a whole range of new ways of e.g. reducing
the energy consumption of their product.
|Ask them to circle the ideas that they like the most and
which they think they may be able to use.
Example of a group taking part in a similar creativity
Example of an ideas sheet produced by Year 2 Loughborough undergraduates