The human brain is constantly coming up with new ideas for solving different problems.
What is Ideation?
For any design team, brainstorming and coming up with the best, most practical, and most innovative idea is the most daunting task that they have to undertake. This strategic brainstorming is what is referred to as Ideation.
Steps of Product Ideation
This reveals the source of your ideas. It can be within the organization or the external environment.
- Selection techniques
- Brainstorming– This involves a group of participants, usually seven to nine, who bring their ideas together under the leadership of a facilitator. Each participant brings their ideas, listens to other ideas, and at the end of the day, settles on the best ideas.
- Focus group– These are participants, brought together under the stewardship of a moderator, who asks pre-determined questions to get their opinions.
- Mind Mapping– This is a visual technique that establishes the link between the problem being solved and the various possible solutions. By this, complex problems are broken down into manageable solutions.
- SCAMPER– This technique, which was fronted by Bob Eberle, exploited the action verb as a stimulus with a focus on re-shaping ideas. SCAMPER is an acronym for:
- Substituting parts of the product with others to achieve a greater outcome.
- Combining two or more ideas into one.
- Adapting the product to an already existing one.
- Modifying the product or part of it, to improve its efficiency.
- Putting the product to a different use other than the intended purpose.
- Eliminating any unnecessary elements within the product.
- Reversing or reorganizing the process to see the effect.
- Storyboarding– Uses a “storyline” to present ideas and possible outcomes of those ideas.
- Reverse thinking– This method, which is also known as “negative brainstorming”, focuses on what is the cause of the problem rather than the solution. It helps to understand the problem and give ideas for solving it.
- Sketching. This is scribbling your ideas on a piece of paper or whiteboard. It is usually effective for artistic-minded individuals.
The ideas that have been generated through the above techniques are then executed. The main purpose of ideation is to help think “outside the box” and not be conformed to the norm.
Product Ideation Tools
- Analogy thinking– This involves researching and replicating ideas from other successful sources to come up with something that will work for you.
- Mash-up method– Involves combining ideas from different sources to come up with one distinct concept.
- Round robin– Involves coming up with one idea that is deliberated and passed from one team member to the next until the final concept is agreed upon.
- Brainstorm cards– Here, cards are used to jot down ideas and then pick the card with the best idea.
Your Take Away
As Albert Einstein said, “The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
For any product to be successful, the following must be taken into consideration in the ideation stage:
- Defining the problem.
- Having the customer in mind.
- Involving the right people in the design thinking process.
- Defining the parameters to work on.
- Challenging the existing assumptions.
- Successfully executing the ideas generated.