Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo – who knows which way we’ll go !

How to apply Stanford D process to our newest assignment? to come up with two innovative products or services that may have some commercial application, using the Stanford D Bootcamp Bootleg{1}, coming up with some ideas, regardless of how ridiculous they may be (blue sky thinking).
Given the comings and goings of the group in the brainstorm week, the time was limited and so sometimes was done with a brief 5 or 10 minute quick meeting. Sometimes with one or two of the team, or other times with 2 or 3 of the team and then discussing with other members of the team over the phone and taking some of the ideas further at that point, it was a bit fractured to be sure, maybe even a bit like real life brainstorming might be in the corporate world… And then we welcomed a new member to the team.
Applying the Steps in a Design Thinking Process{2}, we had already undertaken the secondary research of the retail sector and of Avoca itself in order to understand the area, we had also undertaken some primary research in-store at Rathcoole to observe the business in action. In typical Stanford D, we defined some problems facing Avoca and then we were armed with the core skills to apply the Stanford D method.
We ideated several possible ideas including An Artisan Retail Consultancy, Catalogue Concept, Merger and Acquisitions, Website Localization and Retargeting, Expansion into Events and Leisure, Domestic and International Expansion, Artisan Foods Partnerships, Expanding In-Store Licensing, Shared Space Community Projects, Franchising Expansion Opportunity, Fine Dining Experience, Brand Licensing.
We took on board each team members point of view on each of the suggestions and they were all put the Stanford D process and it was good to see the dynamics of the group work well, expanding on each other’s ideas, until we had fleshed out several of the suggestions to a fair degree and then looked at the realistic viability of these to eventually whittle it down to two ideas.
Founders Syndrome really was not an issue as the basic idea was built upon by other members of the team to the point that who had the first idea and who built on it was never important, only enjoying the process and having a laugh about some of the ideas as they were described in vivid colour, with large demonstrative arms, outstretched to make a point about some esoteric layout, it was a bit like being a kid let loose in a Sweet Shop.
With the decision made on the two winners, we got down to work on building prototypes for these, dividing up the tasks most democratically, with strict deadlines (for this read, advisory deadlines!!) and we thought we may even put our two prototypes through several steps in the StageGate process{3} to develop further .
On the next stage, more to come later, meanwhile I am off to lubricate my creative juices with some fermentedgrapes…

1. Bootcamp Bootleg 2011. [ONLINE]. Available from: [Accessed 8 May 2014].

2. Steps in a Design Thinking Process. 2014. Steps in a Design Thinking Process. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2014]

3. Cooper, R.G. (3 May 2008). “The Stage-Gate Idea-to-Launch Process–Update, What’s New and NexGen Systems,”. Journal of Product Innovation Management. 25 (3), 213-232.


8 thoughts on “Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo – who knows which way we’ll go !”

  1. From Tony D
    Evelyn , great post and I second what Rosemary said. This list of ideas were very good and your insights into the group dynamic were very interesting. I like the way you were applying your Stanford D (Frank would be proud!!!!!) to the whole process so well done to you and the group


  2. yes as I pointed out during Franks intensive interrogation after our below par presentation our team had to form and storm twice which according to Edmondson & Nembhard is an expected consequence of a new member joining a team and is commonly seen in cross functional teams where the membership for a variety of reasons can be temporary


    1. Nice academic reference there in the reply, let me add therefore a reposte: Indeed you are correct, as Tuckman’s(1) (1965) model stages of group development indicated the norming, forming, storming, performing and adjourning steps, we did get to about the forming/storming stage when your goodself turned up and widened the field a bit, providing a bit of added colour to the group and making it ultimately better in the long run (unfortunately a bit after we needed to be but sure there you go, its grand and we survived to laugh about it).

      (1) Tuckman Stages of Group Development [online] Available at: [accessed 11 May 2014]


      1. Wooooh…..impressive with the referencing there….who has been reading ….I like it …’s viral…..benefit of social media that was not there on my early student years in that u can observe study rate among colleagues


  3. Evelyn & Team,

    How ye came up with so many ideas in brief 5 or 10 minute sessions is a mystery, but good to hear that each member built on each other’s ideas and that founders syndrome did not become a problem (in one of my previous jobs founders syndrome was a problem but back then I did not have a name for it!).

    I think one of the many positives to come from our experience over the last three months is getting back to working with people, supporting rather than being critical of ideas, being positive rather than negative….

    Have enjoyed your group’s blogs…..there’s a future in those stores, and when the economy picks up (as it will), they will be at the forefront…hopefully with some of your ideas on board….

    Déaglán de P


    1. Well, we did have a lazy Tuesday having coffee in the Rathcoole Avoca and we were firing on all cylinders that day with possibilities and after that we were each giving it a bit of individual thought till we had our snatched brainstorms, that is were we shared the various points of view.


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