How Design Thinking Helped Name Our Baby

Photo by: Bree Groff

Photo by: Bree Groff

My husband and I are having a baby next week (if all goes as planned!) and we had decided on the name Clara. It was one of the first names we thought of, and it sounded lovely to both of us. But this past week, we admitted to each other that we were only feeling 95% about it, so we made the trip back to the drawing board. And in true Innovation-Consultant-married-to-Data-Scientist style, we took a fairly deliberate approach.

Of course, we started by talking through our design criteria (easy to pronounce and spell, not terribly common, interesting without being weird, etc). Then, I facilitated a mini-ideation session to help us diverge again. My husband took the names we came up with and coded a program that put them in first-middle combinations, asking us each to compare two at a time. After we ranked 200 or so combinations each and our eyes were sufficiently glazed over, the program spit out our preferences, which we proceeded to chart.

In the end the new winner was Arden Olivia Groff. We were thrilled! The O in Olivia is for my Grandma Olga, and Arden we just love. I reached out to some Ardens on Facebook too to ask about their "user experience" with the name Arden. (All enthusiastically positive!)

Like the hairiest of innovation challenges, it was daunting at first feeling like we had to get this right. I spent a lot of time hoping inspiration would strike and we'd call it a day. But if I've learned anything from my work in innovation, it's that to overcome ambiguity, you don't need all the answers, you just need a process. I will be forever grateful to Peer Insight for inspiring me to approach the question "What should we name our child?" with the attitude, "I don't know, but I know how to know!"

Message me @BreeAGroff or leave a comment below!