Designing Democracy Hackathon

After the small intermezzo on the Demoday, we’re back again at my design process, following the steps of the Design Thinking model. Following the empathize and define phase, it is time to start creating.

The more ideas, the better

Following the empathize and define phase, it is time to start creating. This ideation phase often follows a pattern of diverging and converging. During the diverging part, it is all about quantity, the more ideas, the better. In this phase, it is important not to criticize the emerging ideas in order to create a positive, open and creative atmosphere. As they say at Design for Humanity: “Don’t Debate, Ideate!” Although an initial idea might be weak, building upon this idea might bring innovative angles to the challenge. Once it is time to start converging, the large set of ideas is brought back to the few that are most promising. This process of diverging and converging can be repeated multiple times, getting towards ever more specified concepts.

Designing Democracy brainstorm

Although it is certainly possible to ideate individually, many techniques to generate ideas benefit from the input of others. No surprise, this was a step I felt uncomfortable with doing once I started this (individual) graduation project. However, the empathize and define step had gradually led me in a certain direction and a flow of ideas actually came naturally. Although I was quite happy with the initial ideas that started to take shape in my head, I missed the overload of ideas that usually generated during the first part of the ideation phase. I, therefore, decided to take part in the Designing Democracy session organized by Design for Humanity during the Dutch Design Week. It felt good to lay aside my own concept for a while and start fresh with a team of young designers. During the day we came up with many interesting ideas, and also other teams presented inspiring ideas.

Promising concept

After this huge day-long brainstorm session I had the chance to revisit all the concepts that had been developed during the day. I compared them with the initial concept that I had started to develop earlier and finally decided to continue in this direction, especially since I found the substantiation of this concept promising. Now it is time to prototype in order to communicate the idea and gather some initial feedback. More on that in my next post!

Ps. Looking for some techniques for generating ideas? Have a look at the books Thinkertoys (Michael Michalko) and Gamestorming (Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, & James Macanufo)!



Hi! My name is Simone and I’m a master student at the department of Industrial Design at the TU Eindhoven. For my graduation project I am working together with Design for Humanity in their quest on Designing Democracy. Through a series of small blog posts I will try to take you along my design journey, following the steps of the Design Thinking process.

Also read her blogs about the previous steps in the Design Thinking process: empathize, and define.