The Rapid Ingenuity Toolkit / by Anthony Schmiedeler

"Imagine a hackathon, meets team building, meets professional development, meets leadership summit. Imagine getting six weeks of work done in three days. Imagine coming up with solutions together that you could never conceive of on your own." 

That's how Future describes a Rapid Ingenuity Blitz. My fellow designers in residence (including me) at Future used this combination of design exercises, done at warp speed, to tackle Future's problem of how they might engage Chief Learning Officers so that they would want to bring Rapid Ingenuity to their organizations.

The first step was breaking the ice with a little Truth + Truth = Fiction, a fun way to introduce everyone and loosen up the team. After that we analyzed who our audience really was with All About Me. Then we were invited to think of the most outrageous solution we could come up with, aka a Moonshot. That information combined with our new audience profile allowed us to go back in and think about our challenge. Challenge the Challenge led us to a new, more specific problem:  How might CLOs become inspired advocates of Rapid Ingenuity?

From there we started working out how we would create inspired advocates by taking our challenge and adding In a Way That... So That... statements. This helped us figure out how the challenge could be addressed and the impact we wanted our solution to have. Then we took a break to get out and discover things that might spark our imaginations with 3x3x3 (3 Places, 3 people, 3 stories). We ended the first day of our blitz with an Asset Jam to rapidly identify the existing resources we had that could help with our challenge.

Day 2 started with Random Word to help us get away from our problem-solving orthodoxies and generate a bunch of ideas that might lead to ingenious solutions. The catalyst for our random word association? A combination of the weirdest things we found during our Get Out the previous day. Those ideas were then rated on a scale of Impact vs. Doability. We came up with the criteria for Impact and Doability with our In a Way That and So That statements from the previous day. The next steps were taking the most impactful solutions and using an improv tactic, "Yes And", to expand on the ideas and push them as far as they could go. We ended with Name It to start breathing life into our ideas and give us a jump-off point for the realization of them.

One of those ideas was a Rapid Ingenuity Kit: A set of bare essentials in the style of Macgyver (like a paperclip, gum wrapper, and matchstick) that would inspire CLOs to think wrong and realize that they already have the tools they need for ingenious solutions. This wasn't enough for us to move forward with the idea so we did another round of Yes And.

Two of us worked together through several iterations to come to a final solution: the Professional Development Rapid Ingenuity Toolkit. An exquisite yet rough looking package containing a single paper clip presented on a square of velvet. Inspired by Macgyver, we knew the paperclip was the only object we needed to illustrate the possibilities for ingenuity. One of those possibilities is to pick a lock, which we've alluded to in the design of the bend. This refers to the idea of "unlocking your potential". It's also a typical office product that CLO's are familiar with and we are presenting it in an exciting new way. We finished it off by tying in the name of the CLO with the actual object. Making them the "key" so they are empowered and intrigued. The most amazing part is that we used the process we are trying to sell to develop the entire campaign.

The last step was to pair it with a personalized letter and a Rapid Ingenuity Handbook to explain the process. The kit was replicated 70+ times for selected CLOs across the nation and will be sent out as a cold mailer in the coming days, all for under $10 a kit. While I was working on this, my fellow interns created two more ingenious solutions that will also been sent out. We've all got really high hopes for some interesting reactions.  

(The paperclip was lasercut acrylic with chrome spraypaint. The packaging inserts were fabricated with a Cricut. Both the handbook and the packaging were printed by hand using a Riso Gocco. Big thanks to Keir Vaughan for helping the most on this project!)