The cooler weather in September provides the perfect backdrop for students to put ideas to work outside of the classroom. After two weeks of practicing various methods for framing design and business problems and generating solutions, junior and senior-level Visual Communication Design majors were sent by their professor, Amanda Hostalka, to Fells Point to apply what they’ve learned. 

Students in the Creative Strategies course were broken into collaborative teams and sent to famous Fells Point hangouts, such as Jimmy’s Restaurant and The Daily Grind coffee shop. Then, they were given an open-ended design problem: In what ways might we increase revenue for this business? Students applied problem-solving techniques including S.C.A.M.P.E.R. and Reversing Assumptions in order to generate as many innovative ideas for their restaurant as possible. In the initial brainstorming phase, quantity is more important than quality.

It was at this point in the creative process that the professor overheard ideas for turning the restaurants into airports and amusement parks. But, part of the students’ coursework includes using analytical skills to analyze and evaluate ideas in context. After they’ve developed hundreds of unique and [sometimes] crazy ideas, they must ask themselves, “Which crazy ideas just might work? Which ideas will add value?” It’s at this intersection of unique, doable, and valuable that true innovation occurs.

Next week, teams will pitch their creative solutions to potential “investors” in a Shark Tank-style forum!