Getting Creative

The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.

— Linus Pauling, American Chemist and Nobel Price Winner

The Ideation step’s objective is to generate and gather as many ideas as possible for each defined challenge.

Science has done a lot of research on how to generate good ideas effectively. The insights gained help to improve Ideation. According to the marketing genius James Webb Young “… the production of ideas is just as definite a process as the production of Fords.”

Good to know!

According to Psychology Professor Dean K. Simonton (UC Davis), who also specialised in research on creativity, the quality of ideas is a positive function of their quantity. It means: The more ideas generated, the larger the chance to produce a successful idea. There is proof to the theory relating the number of songs bands write until they land a major hit or the number of patents Thomas Edison filed compared to his ground-breaking inventions.

Ideation from different Perspectives

Tackling Ideation from a Design Thinking Process perspective, it is essential to first empathise with the stakeholders. Their view and their requirements need to feed into the creative process. From the Innovation Process viewpoint, empathising overlaps with Problem Framing. The data gathered in this step needs to take perspectives from different stakeholder groups into account to provide the relevant input for Ideation.

In the Ideation phase, the objective is to widen the view on solutions for the previously defined challenge(s). As intermediate results, pretotypes – stripped down and extremely simplified versions of the solution – can help to understand better the Solution Space and how far the generated ideas meet the Challenge Statement’s requirements. 

It is possible to ideate alone, but working in groups – as in Problem Framing and Problem Prioritisation – is often more effective as one idea might spark the next more quickly. It can involve various methods (from brainstorming to co-creation workshops). Also, a lot of different tools are available. Ideation is considered to be the most exciting part of the Innovation Process. It involves creativity, divergent thinking, collaboration, and inspiration to create more, newer, more progressive, and better ideas. 

Everything goes!

In this step, no judgment, criticism, evaluation, or negative feedback is allowed. The focus lays only on generating ideas. With criticism or judgment, the focus shifts to one specific issue – for example, why a proposed solution might be invalid. Focussing diminishes the capability of divergent thinking and makes Ideation less effective.

The results of this process step – several ideas or pretotypes – will be evaluated further in the subsequent Concept Validation phase.