Insight combination is a “a method of building on established design patterns in order to create initial design ideas” and is typically used at the synthesis phase of a project after some initial research. I have run this exercise a few times with limited success. However, in my most recent class called Interaction Design: Understand Health, I ran it with what I would call a seamless process that resulted in students generating a great amount of ideas to build upon. The exercise was developed by Jon Kolko (at least this is the only person I can find linked to it) and you check out the deck he uses at ac4d at this link. I peppered my talk with some health related projects such as PillPack that I think exemplify ideas that blend new technology in ways that produce really novel solutions.
The project I have students working as a warm up this semester is to explore allergies. I gave them each an allergy from the top eight and had them live with it for a week. A bit of empathy experiences to have them learn how others live with health challenges. A stumbling block I find for many students is simply coming up with an idea to pursue after some initial ideas. How does one turn some contextual research into an idea to develop further can be a challenge. By the end of this exercise they had all come up with ideas that each would advance into storyboards and initial wireframes of the idea. If you want to try out the method, follow Jon’s slide deck and have fun! I highly recommend it.