Claire Cerda
Senior Product Manager

Designed brainstorming methods for innovation workshops

MIT Mobile Experience Lab

January 2015

Problem statement

How can we re-think the user experience of brainstorming sessions and make them more efficient and useful workshops for innovation and creativity?

Project description

I researched existing brainstorming methodologies, structures, and session examples to design new methodologies that incorporate many theories, including that of user-centered design. My team and I designed documents, posters, and method cards to help gather data, drive discussion, and ultimately compile a report.

To test the theories we were developing, we ran two brainstorming sessions: one with a start-up in the Boston area called General Sensing, and another with a team at the Mobile Experience Lab partnering with Eni. In both sessions, we focused on designing a workshop to help the groups generate ideas for new products based on previous research and technology, product roadmaps and associated user experiences.

In order to prepare for the workshop, my team and I conducted an extensive competitive landscape analysis to familiarize ourselves with relevant technologies in the field and best practices. The competitive landscape analysis also helped us frame the design of mind maps that we used at the workshop in addition to ideation cards, which allowed group members to flip through different contexts, relevant technologies, personas and considerations to spark new ideas.


  • Value-proposition design
  • User-centered design
  • Design research
  • Competitive landscape analysis

Skills required

  • Moderating and facilitating workshops
  • Wireframing & prototyping
  • Mind maps and ideation cards
  • Personas
  • Scenarios
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Oral and written communication

Tools used

  • Google Drive
  • Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator
  • Post-it notes (LOTS of them)
  • Pencil & paper

Project artifacts and process

Project involvement

I researched value-proposition design and developed a mind map which led people to think about the user, the user's pains and gains, and how their value proposition aligned with the user's needs and wants. I also designed a summary worksheet which captured the group's ideas, in addition to leading them through a process of design-thinking. I facilitated the workshop sessions, and helped contribute to the final reports.


I worked with a project partner and collaborated with my mentors at the MIT Mobile Experience Lab to complete the work.

Workshop with Eni at the MIT Mobile Experience Lab in January 2015.


Two workshops: one at a Boston-area startup, General Sensing, and another at an Italian oil company, Eni. A summary report of the findings at both workshops. Mind maps, cards, and other artifacts for innovation workshops.

More projects

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Do you have any questions about this project? Please send me a note and I'd be happy to discuss!