1) How did taking the position of an Extreme User influence your thinking in relation to the design challenge? Was it different to how you usually generate ideas and empathy?

In a way, the Extreme User was a limitation (we were limited to only extreme behavior/characteristics). And this was a good thing! It funneled our creative juices, such that it was easier to generate an idea within this short span of time. Taking up this position of the Extreme User also allowed me to do two things: (1) it let me feel “free” from any self-censorship and pre-judgment; I felt less restricted and it let me be a lot more creative and free-flowing; (2) it allowed me to conceive of a character that I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of, or at least, a character I wouldn’t have thought of first.
This exercise was useful in that it let me depart from my typical idea generation process. Usually, I tend to think of a “realistic” situation, something well within the bounds of my imagination. However, this is clearly limited by my own preconceptions of what a particular user could be.
2) Did any of the other design thinking techniques (design provocation cards, stories, storyboards, etc.) help you to work through ideas and collaborate with your group members?
I noticed that not everyone enjoyed the process of story creation in particular. Perhaps the setting of this exercise played a part in enabling or disabling our creativity; i.e. it felt less organic.
The design provocation cards were a fantastic starting point from which to generate story ideas, which then illustrate the wider context/picture within which our idea/product would exist.