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Amplifier

Field of application #Problem Analysis
Resume / Brief description

Games to expand knowledge before ideating

A good trick to increase the quantity and quality of ideas on an ideation work, is to expand the knowledge everyone has about the problem, the users, the already existing solutions or the different viewpoints on the situation. To expand knowledge is to expose the brain to new realities and new thinking frameworks. It means to supply the brains with stimuli to generate ideas which, normally, they had not thought about.

The Amplifier takes the team into an exploration, investigation and research activity that open possibilities to understand and reframe the problem.

It works by following directives or questions shown in the Amplifier format. The activity can be executed in a competitive mode where each team tries to find important things that other teams missed.
Category
Problem reframing
Target group Entrepreneurs
I&D teams
Innovation teams
Students
Community
Group size The ideal size of the team is 2 to 5 people. Multiple teams can be using the tool simultaneously
Objectives To increase the understanding of the problem in order to have enough elements to define possible solution routes.
Material Required (Physical version) 1. Amplifier format
2. Pens, pencils, colors.
3. Access to internet
Material Required (Digital version) 1. Digital board showing the Amplifier format (It can be Google Jamboard, Microsoft Board or other)
Duration - Time 20 to 120 minutes
Implementation - Overview 1. Challenge definition
2. Research
3. Problem reframing
Implementation - Guidelines 1. The activity starts with the Challenge definition. The facilitator must communicate the problem to solve and be sure that all participants understand it.
2. The facilitator breaks the group into teams and gives a format to each one.
3. The team must write down the challenge in the designed space on the format. Now all teams are ready to start to research.
4. The teams start to answer the questions. However, to answer each question the team must do an "Expansion" exercise in order to have new elements that, if possible, other teams doesn´t have. This expansion of knowledge can be done by different methods as searching available information on the internet or calling experts.
The four directions to amplify the knowledge are:

Research
What is being done somewhere else to solve this problem?
What research or development is there on the issue?
What similar situations have been solved before?

Direct observation
What uncomfortable or emotional conflictive situations are users presently going through at the time of usage (even though they themselves are not conscious of them)?

Interviews and interaction
What do users and experts say about the situation?
What needs do they state?

Involvement
If I go through the experience as a user, what problems do I experience?

5. Using the new knowledge collected, each team can reframe the original problem.
6. Each team presents its new vision about the challenge to solve and the new facts that support it. If possible, a team must present exclusieve "evidence" collected during the exercise.

The final result is not to have a winner but to have a more deep understanding of the problem and all the circumstances around it. Now the innovation team can advance to the ideation phase.

Example of application: This tool had proved to be very useful in real innovation proceses. A hospital was trying to improve its processes and used the Amplifier tool to find ways to do it. The teams involved in the process carried out an excelent work of Amplification of knowledge with the result of a document containing several possible routes to work on.
In this case, the process took an entire week. Each day the teams received one of the four directions to amplify. The participants made a great job researching, talking with people, observing, taking pictures, living the experience by themselves, looking for formal research, spying to other hospitals (and other organizations far away from the health business), etc.

As a result a good deal of new useful knowledge was added to the one already present in the group. This allow the organization to indentify powerful elements to innovate. 
Templates, Graphics for download
(pptx, jpg,...)
Amplifier Format