Crazy 8’s

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Crazy 8’s is a fun, hectic, and faced paced exercise and is great for rapid idea development on an individual basis. Quite often in brainstorming sessions, the most memorable ideas are the ones posed last irregardless of the quality of the last idea or how revolutionary the early concepts were. Crazy 8’s is a tool to individually take your innovator’s strongest ideas and rapidly develop eight versions or eight entirely new concepts in eight minutes.

There are multiple phases where it may be advantageous to deploy Crazy 8’s.
► After the problem has been fully defined and the team has gathered customer insights and held a discussion one where opportunities may lie.
► Workshops with limited time. Define the problem remotely to the team, bring the team together and begin the brainstorming with crazy 8’s. At the end of the activity, have each person spend an extra 5 minutes on combining different concepts into 1 solution to share with the group.
► If you as the facilitator feel the energy around idea generation is slowing, take a 5 minute break and relaunch with crazy 8’s. This is a great opportunity for team members to have uninterrupted thought processes to build upon previously generated concepts.
► Use as an independent brainstorming activity. Are you by yourself? This method can be a 1-player game too!

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How to do it!

The name “crazy” is referred to the pace at which ideas are generated and progressed, and not the quality of the idea. You may feel you have a good grasp on a solution, but crazy 8’s, when properly employed, will expand your mind. The challenge with this method is developing 8 distinct versions of a solution or 8 solution. This forces you to push past the obvious and reasonable solutions and make them better or consider alternatives. The first 4 to 5 ideas may come easy, with the last 3 to 4 should be a stretch (I find the last two are often times the most innovative).

The supplies needed are: a countdown timer, sheet of paper, and a pen or pencil. The first step is to fold your sheet of paper in half three times, then unfold it as shown below,

Prepping Your Paper

With your paper folded, you have eight panels – each panel for a new solution or rendition of your idea. Set the countdown time to 60 seconds – once you hit start, you have only 60 seconds per section – no need to be neat, be fast and messy, only you will see what is on this page (So no need to be ashamed of what goes down). Use any medium you feel best conveys what’s in your head: words, pictures, diagrams, mock user interface, cartoon – be creative! When the time goes off, time to move to the next panel – repeat for 8 minutes!

This method often works great to develop additional variations of the same idea, like how might a user interact with your product? Maybe each panel represents a different user (adult, woman, child, doctor, engineer, sports star, pop singer, Russian Oligarch).


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Then what…

Once you’ve completed all eight panels, you will feel your hand cramping and a light lift of anxiety. The next step is to examine your eight brilliant (and messy) ideas for insights or promising ideas you would like to move forward to expand upon. It is perfectly acceptable to combine multiple panels as well!

The next phase will be to take time to develop your best idea with detail – this is when you want other people to look at your sketch/drawing/prototype/slogan and provide feedback. Continue to iterate with this feedback, and maybe even run Crazy 8’s again!


Here’s an Example

What’s the Problem: People need to be able to use glassware without fear of condensation and it’s buildup on a surface or their hands.

How are people feeling about your problem?

Re-frame Your Problem using “How Might We…”

Begin Crazy 8’s to Develop Solutions to Your Re-framed Problem Statement

Don’t Judge my Sketching Skills – The point is to Identify Ideas to Potentially Move Forward

Pick Your Best Ideas for Further Development and/or Prototyping for Feedback!

For this problem, the challenge wasn’t just use a koozie to reduce condensation because based on survey results, most people own a koozie, but just forget to put it on! With the permanent leather wrap, you can transform (most) any glass into a condensation reducing dream cup!

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