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Ideate Overview and Mindset

What sort of mindset should we have during the ideate stage? Have a read of the following tips we find helpful when in ideation mode.
Question mark with pencil symbolising coming up with ideas

Ideation is the third stage of the Design Thinking process. In this stage we brainstorm solutions to our challenge – in particular to the How Might We questions we generated in the define (or any other points of view that may be created in the define stage).

Ideation in the working world tends to be completed quickly, where previously acceptable solutions are chosen and then retrofitted to a current context. Many of us have been raised in a system where instantly coming up with answers is rewarded and we have taken that into our working day saving on time and resources but at the expense of not solving the challenge or having to continue to create workarounds – and in some cases redoing the whole project.

We should spend just as much time in the ideation stage as Empathy, Define, Prototype and Test. We should not settle for the first ideas that come to mind and so we use various tools and methods to heighten creativity and to help us explore a wide solution space.

One mindset to start with during this stage is quantity – not quality. We come up with as many ideas as we can without overthingking them – the object is to get them out of our head and onto paper and then we move onto exploring other ideas. If we spend too long on one idea – then we are biasing ourselves towards a solution!

The ideation stage is a visual stage. We sketch to help show our ideas, as this is the best way to show other people. If I say “gondola” then everyone pictures it differently. Maybe its a boat on the river – or maybe its a type of ski lift. By sketching the gondola and labelling it means that everyone can see the vision I have (and maybe my “gondola” has different features from a normal gondola). You don’t have to be an artist – simple sketches consist of stickmen, rectangles and labels.

In the middle of ideation, embracing experimentation by making it and iteration are useful mindsets to have. These mindsets ask us to take some of our ideas and play with them to see what works, and what doesn’t – with sketches, and quick physical models. Can you find keep ideating on the challenges within your idea to strengthen it? You don’t have to solve everything, but get a feeling as to whether this idea has merit.

Which means throughout ideation we still have to be open and optimistic. We need to explore without judgment (on ourselves as well as others) and respond to the positives of an idea.

Ideation should be fun. But so many people find it challenging. From this article:

  • Why do you think people find ideation challenging?
  • What is an idea that may help people ideate more effectively?

Post in the comments below.

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The Design Thinking Toolbox

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