Phase 2

phase2_ What if?

Phase 2: Asking “What if?” 

Key activities

  1. Identify elements of a fitting solution to the challenge. “An ideal solution would be…, would have…, would enable…”
  2. Brainstorm ideas using suggested exercises
  3. Combine brainstormed ideas into 2-3 distinct concepts
  4. Determine if those concepts, which will become the building blocks for a responsive solution, contain the elements identified in #1.


    • Forming new concepts, which will be the basis for solutions, necessitates generating many ideas (some say 100 ideas is optimum).
    • This is not a time to judge ideas. Let the ideas flow. More brainstorming tips

The partnership benefits of Phase 2

  • Getting the group to a shared understanding of elements of a good design/solution
  • Tapping into the experiences, ideas, and creativity of all team members
  • Experiencing a fun, creative process that can help the team bond

How Phase 2 can increase the odds of a successful solution (aka, de-risk the project)

  • Leads the team to an expansive array of potential solutions
  • Encourages the team to consider several types of solutions, mixing and match the best concepts


  • Consider designating time away from routine work responsibilities and interruptions to conduct Phase 2 activities.

Tools and Worksheets

Examples of concepts developed by some of the 2012-2013 Job Access Mobility Institute teams

Northeast Iowa team
Concept 1. Create a flex-route/deviated fixed-route commuter service
Concept 2. Launch E.A.R.L.,  the new image for the local public transit service to give the agency a “cool factor” and have E.A.R.L. be viewed as a “who” that can help people in the community
Concept 3.  A toolkit of transportation information geared towards specific stakeholders to help educate and engage them

Coastal Bend (TX)
Concept 1. Vanpools from colonias to community colleges and employment sites
Concept 2. Working with high school students to prepare youth for career/school transition, with knowledge of transportation options available to them

Essex Co./Newark (NJ)
Concept 1. Essex EZ Ride: A volunteer driver program using cars/vans provided and coordinated by a transportation broker
Concept 2. Essex Neighborhood Vehicle (ENV): An autonomous circulator operating in industrial/commercial/neighborhood settings that can connect commuters between the closest transit station and their final destination a mile or two away
Concept 3. Information kiosk: Screens with real-time transportation information, supplemented with hard copies of maps, pamphlets, and brochures

Marin Co. (CA)
Concept 1. Affinity groups for shared rides
Concept 2. Employer-sponsored transportation
Concept 3. Late night hubs with point-to-point shuttle services with neighborhood multimodal connectivity