Definition of Ideation
Ideation is the process of producing ideas on one or more themes in a creative and open setting that is referred to as creativity. This is a highly effective strategy that you may use at any point in the development process. Your company might use imagination to discover fresh product concepts (without fear of being judged or ridiculed! ) and brainstorm solutions to development concerns or market challenges. Ideation in a design thinking project aims to produce many ideas that the team can filter and cut down into the best, most practical, or most original ones to inspire new and better design solutions and products.
Ideation is considered the third step of the design thinking process is, and is all about coming up with new ideas. Let’s take a quick look at the five steps of Design Thinking before diving into Ideation.
It’s vital to keep in mind that Design Thinking isn’t a linear process. The insights and outputs from the Empathize and Define stages (getting to know your users and defining a clear problem statement) will, on the other hand, lead and inform a good ideation session.
Importance of Ideation
Product teams can benefit from ideation sessions since they allow them to collaborate and boost their creativity outside of their everyday workflow and working environment.
However, a certain amount of structure is required. Everyone in attendance should be informed of the goals of the brainstorming session — precisely, the challenges that need to be resolved. Throughout the process, you must consider the target users and their problems.
Visual aids and games can be quite effective in stimulating increased creativity throughout the brainstorming process. Brainstorming exercises, linking words and concepts, and even the “worst possible idea” can relieve some of the pressure that comes with coming up with brilliant ideas, allowing for more unfettered thinking on the part of the group. The goal is to allow for free-thinking and consider ideas that may seem unique or even crazy at first glance but could potentially lead to exciting breakthroughs and even innovations.
Benefits of Ideation
Critical thinking is put on hold during an ideation session and resumed at a later stage. At the moment, ideas aren’t judged; all suggestions, no matter how out of the box they may appear, are considered. For a brief period, those inner critics who may stifle creativity are muted, and quantity takes precedence over quality in terms of output.
The greater the number of ideas gathered during ideation sessions, the greater the number of potential solutions and innovations with which to experiment. When product designers take a free-thinking approach, they are more likely to suggest solutions, even if they believe they are unlikely to succeed. Even if that turns out to be the case, simply discussing the alternatives can ignite innovation in others, resulting in the discovery of new solutions that positively impact the development of the product in question.
However, designers are not the only ones who can contribute to creativity. People from several teams may be participating, each bringing their unique set of skills, experiences, and creative qualities to the table to contribute to the project. Accepting and valuing other points of view can lead to more imaginative thinking. During ideation meetings, it is possible to build valuable new collaborations and relationships that will lead to significant results in the future. When done well, imagination can also dismantle departmental barriers, resulting in a more integrated corporate culture.
How to use Ideation properly?
Ideation workshops are scheduled meetings dedicated to brainstorming new ideas, allowing everyone who attends to express their originality in a structured environment. They should be restricted to a specific amount of time (30 minutes, for example), and they should ideally take place outside of the typical working environment.
It is appropriate to include people from outside the product design team if they have insights into the target users, such as workers from marketing departments, sales departments, or customer service departments.
The environment should be comfortable and free of distractions, allowing participants to relax and focus on the task. This could occur in a designated meeting space, a quiet coffee shop, or a break-out area of a larger facility.
Someone should kick off the ideation session with a brief statement that defines the workshop’s purpose (such as ways to add gamification elements to a new project management platform or how to respond to a competitor product being released).
It is critical to convey to all participants that there are no poor ideas when conducting ideation workshops. Critical thought can interrupt the flow of conversation, and valuable ideas may be left unsaid.
In summary, Ideation can have numerous benefits to team culture, creativity, creating a space for open-mindedness, innovative solutions, and brilliant ideas. No matter how large your company is, you can feel the benefits of the ideation process.