Ideation Technique

Today, when nothing is impossible and no amount of futuristic solutions seem unrealistic, the single most important factor that our world values is an idea. An idea has the potential to change our reality and make it better. Whether you are in a creative role or a highly technical one, chances are you are expected to come up with ideas that can benefit the product, process or more. However, ideation is easier said than done. How you ensure that your ideas are unique, better still, brilliant? We have tried to guide you through the most successful ideation techniques to help your ideate and make your ideas more robust and groundbreaking.  

1. Create a Problem Statement 

The golden rule of successful ideation is creating a problem statement around which you frame your ideas. When you start by identifying and creating a problem statement, half of your job is done. In fact, the most difficult part has been dealt with – knowing where to look for ideas.  In the case of a product idea, think of your target audience and what could make their lives easier. Ideate along those lines to come up with products that address your audience’s needs. Similarly, for ideas pertaining to process improvement or more, try to find out loopholes of the current system. Once you understand what problems you need to solve, ideation for the same becomes easier.

2. Brainstorming Sessions

Conducting brainstorming sessions with peer groups have shown to have high success rates when it comes to ideation techniques. Sit down with your colleagues and ask them to contribute towards brainstorming in the following manner:
– Start with writing down your worst ideas. This step removes the fear of criticism and allows participants to broaden their horizon of thinking. 

– Eliminate constraints by identifying them. If you are able to identify the roadblocks and remove them, your path towards the solution will become smoother. 

– Use analogies and examples to form a more tangible idea. Vague ideas are difficult to turn into action. The more detailed and tangible it is, the better.

3. Storyboard Your Ideas

The power of visual aid is undeniable. When you put your ideas into images that capture the essence of your thoughts, it easier to streamline them into something fruitful. Storyboards have been around for a long time, helping professionals navigate their thoughts and pick a theme to arrive at the idea. Here’s how it works

  • Write down your thoughts on pieces of paper. Get postcard sizes printouts of your ideas if possible. 
  • Categorise your ideas into various buckets and weigh their pros and cons.
  • Break down broader ideas into smaller actionable items.
  • Identify how your ideas will address the problem statement or create the solution.
  • Discard the ideas which don’t match the requirements.

4. Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is very similar to storyboarding in the sense that this technique also involves visual aid. This technique visual diagrams around a keyword and elaborates on it. Start by writing down the key idea or problem that you have set out to solve. Now draw lines out from this keyword and link it to the various elements associated with the keyword. Break down these related ideas into categories and subcategories and analyse their interrelation. This process works exceptionally well for complex ideation or solution. 

5. Brainwriting

This ideation technique includes pieces of paper and a timer. Gather in a group of six and write down 3 ideas each in 5 minutes and pass them on to the next person in the group. The next person is supposed to develop on those three ideas or come up with three more ideas inspired by the first 3. This process repeats itself until the paper has been through all the participants of the group. At the end of this activity, the group should choose the best ideas and develop those collectively. 

For more tips on how to perform better and take your career ahead, check out Great Learning’s Stanford Executive Education Design Thinking: For Young Innovators which is designed for young professionals with up to two years of experience.

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