Mind Maps & Silly Ideas

Architect Kerrik Wessel playing lobster football

This Fall I am lucky enough to help out with the University of Minnesota Product Design/ College of Design class at the University of Minnesota as a Creativity Counselor. In my role, I review a group of student projects once every two weeks. Two fun exercises they do before really diving into a design for a product are “Mind Maps and Silly Ideas”. I found these exercises very interesting and fun and the ideas generated by these two simple exercises were amazing.

For more information about “How Humor can Fuel Innovation” check out associate professor and director of product design at the University of Minnesota Barry Kudrowitz, PHD hilarious video!


The product that they will be designing has to be associated with transportation so that is where they start. The goal of this exercise is to generate with 3 themes that are of interest to the student and then at the end of the review pick one. Here are a couple of examples of students work and for more student work or information on the University of Minnesota Product Design see this link below.


Associations by student Samuel Fedderly

Samuel Fedderly’s Mind Map

3 Suggested Themes:

Drones are pilotless aircrafts. I can take advantage of the fact that this aircraft does not exclusively target humans. I can create products from self driving passenger drones, to something like small friendly grocery drones that hold your bags while your in a store.
Scooters (Compact vehicles)
Scooters and motor-scooters are small compact devices that can take up to one person from one destination to another. My emphasis is on compact. By manipulating the structure of a scooter (or other compact device), you could probably fit one in a backpack and potentially even in your pocket!!
I believe that there is so much more to a backpack than storage. When people where backpacks, their goal is to bring things from one place to another. So, the backpack should facilitate that process by being the vehicle of transportation.

Silly Ideas by student Samuel Fedderly

Samuel Fedderly’s Silly Ideas

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