What connects an Argentinian car mechanic, a party trick and giving birth?

If you are reading this document you have probably attended (or are attending) one of my workshops. If not, I hope the content is helpful for you โ€“ I have tried to make it useful without needing any additional context. If you have any questions, or would like me to deliver this workshop for you or your organisation, please feel free to contact me.

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Jorge Odรณn, a mechanic, was at his garage one day when his staff showed him a YouTube video. The video showed how to remove a cork from a inside an empty bottle using a plastic bag. First push the cork all the way into the bottle. Then insert the bottom of the plastic bag into the bottle far enough in so if you tilt the bottle the cork can sit alongside it. Next, blow into the mouth of the bottle to inflate the plastic bag. Now pull. The cork will slide out with the plastic bag.

Jorge went about his day as normal but later his mind made an unlikely connection โ€“ could this party trick help save babies trapped in the birth canal?

The World Health Organisation believed it could and enthusiastically endorsed the idea. The device Jorge came up with followed exactly the same priciple as the video of removing a cork from an empty bottle. He made a quick prototype using a large jar, his daughter's doll and a fabric bag sewn by his wife. In 2013, Becton Dickinson and Company acquired the license for the Odon Device.

Doctors believe Jorge's device has huge potential for saving lives in poor countries and reducing the need for cesarean births in rich countries.

The Odon Device - Image: Diego Giudice for The New York Times

For another example of an idea being sparked from an unlikely connection read Extra: From distant fields from my user research workshop.

At first glance it looks like Jorge had a lightbulb moment โ€“ don't be fooled. Prior to this invention Jorge had five patents albeit all within his field of expertise, mechanics. His mind was trained to observe problems, understand them deeply and to work his way to potential methods to alleviate those challenges.

In this workshop you'll follow a three-step process - define the problem, source ideas, choose somewhere to begin. This process will empower you to arrive at a concept that more effectively meet the needs of your users.

To get the most out of this workshop, complete all of the exercises. The exercises and activities are more valuable than the stories and text.

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