Myths that Mislead the Ideation Process
The notion that the innovation process begins with an idea is very misleading. An idea is the output of the innovation process, not the starting point. It is nearly impossible to have a big idea before knowing what customer, job-to-be-done, segment, unmet needs, and price the idea has to address. They are the inputs needed to execute successful ideation techniques. The chances that any random idea will satisfactorily address all these prerequisites are minuscule.
The Benefits of Ideation
Structured Flexibility: A flexible process, Ideation can be done individually, with a group gathered together in a physical location, or with a group working remotely.
Playful and Productive: Ideation sessions are an opportunity to relax and have fun.
Together Alone: ‘I’ for ‘individual sharing their own ideas’ in the same space
Use Your Entire Brain: The process of Ideation will combine the insights of the right brain with the logical ideas from the left in order to create new, fresh, potentially extraordinary yet realistic ideas.
Guidelines for Successful Brainstorming
Judgment: Judgment-free sessions will result in more diverse ideas.
Wild Ideas: Everyone must break out of their comfort zone.
Build: Using the word ‘and’ instead of ‘but’ will encourage inclusivity in a positive setting.
Stay Focused: Keep your eyes on the prize.
Take Turns: Be sure everyone gets a chance to share their ideas.
Go for Numbers: Make sure everyone has the tools they need to generate a large number of ideas.
Keep Groups Small: The bigger the group, the less successful the session.
Stay Structured: Structure and clearly communicated processes are the blueprints for success.
Pick the Right People: People should be considered equals so they will feel free to share ideas.
“Ideation is about shared invention. Attaching a single person to a single idea hinders collaboration and greatness.” — Brendan Boyle
3 Stages of Successful Ideation
10 Great Ideation Techniques
- Attribute Listing: Analytical approach, identify areas of improvement.
- Brainstorming: Generate a large number of ideas and select the best one.
- Visualisation: Using picture prompts to visualizing the challenges faced.
- Mindmapping: Graphically connect ideas.
- Reverse Thinking: Thinking up opposite ideas.
- Daydreaming: Trying to establish an emotional connection to the problem.
- Collaboration: Joining hands for a common goal.
- Wishing: Asking for the unattainable and then connecting.
- Challenging Assumptions: 20 to 30 assumptions (irrespective of whether they are true or false
- SCAMPER: Utilizes action verbs as stimuli.
Ideation for Entrepreneurs
4-step Ideation Process
1) Select a problem area: Find the “Pain” in the market by observing customer frustration first hand. There are 2 generic approaches for selecting problem areas;
a. Broad and opportunistic: Use engaged observation with potential customers about their frustrations.
b. Narrow and focused: Leverage your expertise or passion in a specific product category or industry.
The bigger the problem area, the bigger the opportunity. Opportunities can be classified into 3 categories;
a. Solve everyday pain: The pain point must have enough intensity so that potential customers have,
i) Strong reason to believe the product claim and
ii) Strong willingness to overlook the risk associated with purchasing a new product from a relatively new company.
b. Ride waves of interest, tapping into engaged buyers.
c. Stretch or entertain to the extreme. “How do customers measure value?”
i) What outcomes (functional and emotional) are customers seeking?
ii) What barriers stop those outcomes?
iii) What attributes lead to those outcomes?
2) Explore the specific problem
3) Propose and test alternative product ideas
4) Perfect the top product idea: A product’s competitive angle defines the pain point and highlights the solution it provides. Communicating a Reason to Believe (RTB) helps connect the consumer with the offering.