iLab Design Process

To solve the problem of promoting alternative and active transportation in Chattanooga, the Alternative and Active Transportation Innovation Lab used design thinking and the design process (as defined by Doris Pierce). Throughout the two semester course sequence students collaborated in design teams to work through Pierce's seven design phases. 

Design Phases

Phase 1 - Motivation

In this phase groups identified reasons and motivations for promoting the use of active and alternative transportation in Chattanooga. Groups began by listing the pros and cons of using alternative and active transportation. Groups than finalized their motivations by stating a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) (from Robert Curedale's "Design Thinking: Process and Methods Manual", p. 185).

This phase was completed on Aug 27. Check out what motivates our groups


Phase 2 - Investigation

During this phase groups investigated issues related to active and alternative transportation. These investigations were driven by the motivations and questions raised by individual groups and include primary and secondary research. 

As part of the investigation phase, students meet with experts including Chattanooga's Department of Transportation administrator, Blythe Bailey, participated in a design charrette related to the city's plans to redesign 3rd & 4th street, and traveled to Washington DC to investigate one of the nation's best cities for active and alternative transportation. Groups also conducted small-scale surveys to learn more about the public’s view of the problem. The investigation phase was “completed” on November 19, 2015, with groups turning in a draft “investigation findings” that synthesized relevant secondary research, summarized findings from primary research conducted by groups, and explained how the primary and secondary research findings were shaping the issue the group was investigating. During the Spring 2016 semester groups returned to the investigation phase as needed, with groups conducting additional primary research (in the form of observations) and secondary research.

Check out what the groups discovered during their investigations.


Phase 3 - Definition

At this point each group defined the problem (related to active and alternative transportation) they thought needed to be solved. On December 3, 2015, groups presented their problem definitions to our community partner (PROVA) and other community members. Groups also submitted 500-word problem definitions and revised investigation summaries. During the Spring 2016 semester several groups revisited and revised these problem definitions.

Check out the groups problem definitions from December 2015.


Phase 4 - Ideation 

During this phase groups used brainstorming exercises to generated ideas for solving the problem they defined in Phase 3. Brainstorming activities included: NYAKA, Out of the Box, the 101 Method, and Rolestorming (from Robert Curedale's "Design Thinking: Process and Methods Manual," p. 338, 335, 314, 346). During the ideation phase groups also re-defined the problems, with several groups changing the problem they were planning to solve. At the end of this phase groups had generated lists with dozens of possible solutions for their problems. The ideation phase was completed on Feb. 9. 

Check out examples of the ideas generated by the groups.


Phase 5 - Idea Selection

At this point groups evaluated the ideas generated in phase 4 and selected an idea or solution for the problem they defined in phase 3. This phase included a number of idea selection exercises, including Benefits Mapping, Idea Advocate, and DOT Voting activities (from Robert Curedale's "Design Thinking: Process and Methods Manual," p. 274, 327, 324). On February 18, 2016 groups selected the ideas(s) they wanted to pursue as a solution to their problem.

Check out the results of the groups "Idea Advocate" activity.


Phase 6 - Implementation

As part of this phase groups came up with a plan for the implementation of the solution selected in phase 5. During this phase groups identified activities and resources needed to implement their problem solution and generated action plans (from Robert Curedale's "Design Thinking: Process and Methods Manual," p. 288). On March 22, 2016 groups submitted draft problem solution statements and plans for implementation.


Phase 7 - Evaluation

The final step in the design process asked students to create a method for evaluating the solution and its implementation. On April 5, 2016, groups submitted draft plans for evaluation.


Final Projects

At the end of the year, groups were asked to prepare a final written product describing the problem, its solution, and the plan for implementing and evaluating the solution: