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  • Writer's pictureDiksha Pandey

Ideation- Stage 3 of Design Thinking

Updated: Jul 22, 2022

What is Ideation in Design Thinking?


Ideation is a creative process of forming ideas in different sessions. It involves developing ideas from their conception to the implementation of those ideas.

Design thinking is said to be a nonlinear process wherein no sequence is followed for any step but after the design stage is completed we start with the ideation stage ideation is the third step of design thinking.

Once the problem statement is completed through the defining phase, the designers can generate ideas in sessions like brainstorming storytelling, etc by thinking out of the box on looking at the box from different angles.

Ideas in the ideation stage are expressed by verbal methods, written graphics, arise from influencers in the past, opinions or present knowledge, and personal conviction.


What Is The Use Of Ideation Stage In Design Thinking?

  • Ideation helps in asking the right questions and generating innovation for the users.

  • Ideation promotes thinking ahead from the previous solution in order to motivate innovation.

  • The generation of different ideas helps in exploring uncovered areas of innovation or a problem.

  • Team members provide various options of solutions to a particular problem.

  • Ideation results in the ultimate solution to a problem.

  • During the ideation stage, the manager motivates the team in order to bring together the prospective and strengths of the team members.

  • Different opinions and ideas give different angles to a particular problem.

Why It Is Important To Ideate? Ideation helps to generate the ultimate idea which results in a solution at the end from the large varieties of ideas. During the process of ideation, a number of ideas are generated which are then cut down into the best.

The most particular or the most innovative idea is then generated in order to get the best solutions. Ideation is about exploring and identifying the potential solution of a problem in ideation.

Best ideas are taken as the solution and some are kept as the backup plan. If one solution fails the team is ready with another best solution. Developing the prototype after the ideation stage and testing it, if in the testing stage the team fails it again returns to the ideation stage.

Ideation is the base of the prototyping stage of design thinking only after the successful ideation process a prototype is made ideation is the bridge between the problems that the user have and the generation of the solution to those problems.

What Are The Stages Of Ideation?

One of the best examples of innovation in pharmaceutical companies. Ideation is the process of pharmaceutical companies which helped them to develop new medicines. They encourage constant innovation by allowing employees to spend a specific percentage of time working on the new techniques in the field of medicine. In the process of design thinking, there are various stages of ideation.

  1. Define the problem: During the second stage of design thinking a problem is defined or a problem statement is formed. Before developing an idea for the solution a designer must be clear about the problem statement.

  2. Choose space: Space adds great value in the process of ideation. A change in space from a regular one can help the designer to create better ideas. A good environment creates a good idea. There should be some space where the team members can sit together.

  3. Set the time: This is one of the rules of ideation. The team leader should fix a time that should be appropriate for the team members. A fixed time motivates the members to get the right idea at the right time.

  4. Select an ideation technique: Now according to the type of problem and the kind of solution required a technique of ideation is selected to generate the idea. Many managers use brainstorming in the ideation process to generate ideas. There are also many other techniques that are very effective.

  5. Rank the ideas: After the brainstorming session now the team has a number of ideas or solutions for the given problem statement. Now the team ranks the idea to select the best one. Ranking the idea is usually done by a voting system.

  6. Choose the idea for the prototype stage: Next step in the ideation process is to choose the idea that will move to the prototype stage. Other ideas are always kept as the backup for the problem statement.

What are the methods of Ideation?

  • Brainstorming- One of the most effective methods of ideation is brainstorming. Building good ideas from each others' wild ideas is the aim of brainstorming sessions. Leaders motivate team members with a focus on the quantity of ideas rather than quality. The time limit should be fixed

  • Brainwriting- In this method, each member writes down their ideas and passes the paper to another person to elaborate on the idea. Then again that paper is passed to another person for more elaboration and so on for 15 mins or more. Then the papers are collected and posted for discussion.

  • Brian walking- Members work about the room, add value to others' ideas and then start the discussion. It's the same as brainstorming and brainwriting.

  • Worst possible idea- In this process of ideation, an individual is allowed to produce a bad or the worst idea to a problem and then thinks the opposite of that idea to create the best possible solution.

  • Challenging assumptions- In this method, a design thinking team challenges the established beliefs or solutions about a particular problem and then tries to reveal a fresh perspective of that problem.

  • Mind mapping- In this method of ideation, team members write the problem on the center of a large piece of paper or whiteboard. Then different ideas are written on the same page in a location that indicates how this idea is related to others. Then connections are made between associated ideas by drawing lines.

  • Sketching- Designers use rough sketches or diagrams to express their ideas and solutions. Sketching the ideas gives a more detailed or clear picture of that idea and helps the team member to explain it to other members.

  • Storyboarding- In this process, a designer develops a visual profile related to the problem or user story to explain the situation or the cause of the problem, and then possible outcomes of those problems are taken out. The designer narrates a story explaining the problem and then explains the idea as a solution.

  • Scamper- Questioning problems through verbal actions. In this process team members are asked questions using words:

  • Substitute of a product

  • Combine ideas

  • Adopt new technology

  • Modify a product

  • Product for other use

  • Eliminate parts of the process

  • Reverse idea

  • Bodystorming- Designers use role-play techniques in customer journeys to find the best solution.

  • Analogies- When a design team finds two similar or correlated ideas they draw a comparison in order to get a better idea. Sometimes this is done between two best ideas to select an idea for a prototype.

  • Provocation- In this method the designer uses an extremely creative approach technique to challenge established beliefs about the problem or situation and get a better path out of it.

  • Cheats Strom- It is using previous ideas or solutions as the base of motivation for the new idea by the team members.

  • Crowd storming- When a problem is related to a specific area or technology then and using feedback of the target audience to generate ideas to provide the solution is done in the process of ideation.

  • Creative pause- When a designer finds hinders in the part of the solution, he is given time to pull back from the problems in the part of the solution in this creative pause technique.

What Are The Rules Of Brainstorming? Brainstorming is one of the most used and effective ways of generating ideas in the ideation session. Points to be considered during a brainstorming session:

  • Allow one person at a time. No other person should interfere in between when an idea is being given it can break the flow of ideas or confidence of the team member.

  • A visual picture must be created of the problem statement and then keeping in mind a visual image of their ideas must be created.

  • No one should be judgemental (leader or the other team member) nor should criticize the idea during the time of brainstorming session as it can create obstacles for the thinker.

  • The focus of the team should not be on the quantity of the idea rather on the quality of the ideas.

  • Most weird, wacky, and wild ideas should also be encouraged even if they can create humor or seem to be impossible.

  • Every team member should support each other's ideas. Debates and group discussions over ideas could be done to make it more innovative.

  • The team members should stay on a topic and focus should be on a theme or a goal otherwise it could become confusing.

  • There must always be a time limit for a brainstorming session. If no time limit would be given the session could be never-ending with no solution.

How To Give Your Team The Right Mindset For Ideation? In order to make ideation a success for the team members and the company, the team leader should give the team the right mindset for ideation. He should always:

Accept all ideas- During the ideation process, all the ideas should be welcomed. No one should criticize or judge any idea at its initial stage.

Stay on topic: With a time limit, it is very important for all the team members to stay on a topic. Deviation from a topic or involving more than one topic can mislead or misguide the ideation process.

Document all ideas: Every idea generated should be saved in digital format as well as the original paper. Documentation helps in understanding the idea more clearly and helps in exploring it.

Wrap Up Keep going even if you believe that the team has already come up with a good idea. It is the time when you make and melt in the research that has been gathered by the team.

Someone should manage the team as the team leader. The team needs a room where they can sit together at a common table to discuss the ideas.

Put each idea on a separate piece of paper to simulate new ideas by seeing words and images together. Generate ideas by empathizing with the end-users. Return back to the original problem again and again.

Keep going even if you believe that team has come up with the idea we can move on to. Get as much as good ideas as you can. Don't forget to save ideas in digital format as well as the original paper as they could be helpful in the future.

Now at the end of the ideation process when the team has a number of ideas, the team needs to put a quantity to quality. Use filters asking questions regarding price, technology, user, etc, and then filter the ideas on the basis of it to get the quality of ideas used for the solution.

At this stage, the critiques are most important and done at the end of the ideation process. Once the team comes up with the best idea it could be moved forward for prototyping.

FAQ How to prepare for an ideation session? Ans. A good ideation session can be conducted with a good tone, a change in regular space, and by creating a relaxed environment for the team.

What is ideation in communication? Ans. Communication begins with ideation. The formation of ideas or a message that needs to be communicated is ideation.

What is the next stage after Ideation? Ans. Once the idea is formed through the ideation process and selected through voting. The best idea will move to the prototype stage. Prototyping is the next stage after ideation in design thinking.

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