The UNIQUE process

Rather than the Ureka! moment most people expect, original ideas are generally the result of a creative process. This includes a number of steps/stages that ensure the end user and their needs are placed at the centre of the solutions. Here at DICE Academy/LYIT we have researched many different approaches to create a process that works best for our students. We call this creative way of approaching briefs - the UNIQUE process after the six stages of the process – Understand – Needs – Ideas – Quick prototype – Use - Evaluate

UNDERSTANDING is key in project work. You need to get to grips with lots of aspects of the project… what is being asked of you, how might you go about it, what information might you need, what information don’t you need, who might help, what obstacles might you may face, what are the resources that you have…the list goes on.

You now need to consider the NEEDS of all the people that could be useful to developing your project. Start by thinking about stakeholders and users.

In the IDEAS section you brainstorm and come up with as many creative solutions as possible. The sky is the limit, move beyond the obvious and to begin with don’t discredit any ideas! Once you have discussed your IDEAS, then you can begin to analysis their merits and focus on one IDEA or perhaps combine a few of them.

There is no point having a wonderful idea if you can’t tell people about it. In this stage of the process you build/design a representation of your solution (or a PROTOTYPE) to test all or part of your solution. How can I show my idea? Perhaps you can build a small replica out of clay or paper or draw you design with annotations (labels explaining or commenting on the different features of your drawing), it might be a short film, or a storyboard, anything that communicates your idea to allow for the next stage.

Now it’s time to go back to your stakeholders and users to see what they think about your ideas! This stage can be a bit daunting – you are presenting your work for the first time. Because it is just at the prototype stage, you must be able to convince your users what the final product, service or experience will be like, so that they get a very clear idea and can point out things that they notice. They may even make helpful suggestions about how to improve your prototype.

This is an opportunity to EVALUATE your solution and the process. As you will have found out, we don’t go through each of these stages in isolation, we need to reflect on what has worked and what hasn’t along the way but especially now at this point.