Why We Debatestorm

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This is a guest post from Aaron McKinney.


Constantly driving toward innovative solutions can be hard. Brainstorming with a project team is a common practice in any workplace to generate those hard earned project ideas that then solve your client’s or customer’s problem. There are many ways to brainstorm, but the question becomes, once you have all those ideas captured, how do you settle on just one? Do you vote on it? Group ideas until you find a theme? Sit back and let the team leader go with the idea he/she thinks is best? Let the boss dictate the solution to go with based on personal opinion? At Paper Plane, we believe an idea should triumph on its merits, not solely on the opinion of a leader or as the result of groupthink. That is why we employ a process we call debatestorming to narrow down our ideas and ultimately decide what solution to go with in the design phase of our projects.

What is debatestorming?

Think of it like round two of a brainstorming session where some of the top ideas are then assigned to team members to promote/defend. The job of other team members is to play the devil’s advocate and try to poke holes in why the solution isn’t the right one to go with, even if they believe it is. The goal is to challenge any assumptions that have been made about the solution and provide the team the opportunity to anticipate where the project might go off the rails.

The goal is to challenge any assumptions that have been made about the solution and provide the team the opportunity to anticipate where the project might go off the rails.

All arguments for and against the idea must be based in some type of design principle be it adult learning theory, graphic design, user experience, you name it. The point is personal opinions are not allowed in a debatestorm, only facts & design principles.

Beyond helping a design team shore up a project idea, debatestorming can help solidify a sales pitch or solution proposal to a client. If your sales team or project team has already debated the finer points of an idea, then they should be amply prepared to overcome any objections from a decision maker with purchasing power or anticipate concerns a project stakeholder may have with a design solution.

If debatestorming sounds like something you would be interested in bringing to your team, feel free to drop us a line or we could even visit your team to conduct a session to see how it can improve the quality of your design solutions.