A Design Challenge is an approach I implemented at Placester to get a lot of ideas sketched out in a short period of time. when a potential feature or improvement is in the very earliest stages of ideation. Loose draft requirements and a problem to solve are the only thing needed to begin.
Dashboard Design Challenge
After a brief kick off, each UX designer, and sometimes product folks too, take a few days and put other projects aside to sketch and sketch and think and think, and sketch some more. We come back together and each presents what they have, all of it, the good the bad and the ugly. We discuss and collaborate all possible ideas. The UX person assigned to the project or team responsible for the feature then takes everything, takes back ownership and moves the project forward.
Once the design challenge was done I consulted and reviewed the work regularly to help set direction, critique and work through challenges throughout the process.
It works really well and its a great team building experience. I don't pretend this is a novel idea, its basically a hackathon for UX, however I don't see this kind of collaboration happening as often as it could be on UX teams.