What is Ideation? (What it is and why it matters)

Ideation is a crucial process in the world of design thinking. Ideation involves generating ideas and solutions through various creative sessions, such as brainstorming, sketching, prototyping, and other ideation techniques.

The primary goal of ideation is to come up with a large quantity of ideas that can be filtered and refined into the best, most innovative solutions.

The Importance of Ideation

Ideation plays a vital role in the design thinking process for several reasons:

  1. Asking the Right Questions: Through ideation, you can explore different perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of your users’ needs. This allows you to ask the right questions and innovate with a strong focus on delivering meaningful solutions.
  2. Beyond Obvious Solutions: Ideation enables you to move beyond the obvious solutions and dive into unexplored territories of innovation. By challenging assumptions and thinking outside the box, you increase the potential for groundbreaking ideas and unique design solutions.
  3. Harnessing Team Strengths: The collaborative nature of ideation brings together the diverse strengths and perspectives of team members. This collective effort fosters creativity and encourages the exploration of multiple innovative options.
  4. Uncovering Unexpected Innovations: Ideation sessions often lead to the discovery of unexpected areas of innovation. By encouraging free-flowing idea generation, you can stumble upon novel solutions that may have been overlooked initially.

Facilitating Productive Ideation Sessions

To ensure productive and effective ideation sessions, here are some processes and guidelines to consider:

  1. Create a Collaborative Environment: Set up a welcoming and inclusive space that encourages open communication and idea sharing. Foster an atmosphere that values all contributions, regardless of how wild or unconventional they may seem.
  2. Diverse Participant Mix: Invite individuals from various backgrounds, experiences, and expertise. A diverse group brings different perspectives to the table, which can lead to more innovative and well-rounded ideas.
  3. Clear Session Objectives: Clearly define the purpose and goals of the ideation session beforehand. Provide participants with a clear understanding of what you aim to achieve and what challenges they need to address.
  4. Time Constraints and Burstiness: Ideation sessions should have defined time limits. This helps create a sense of urgency and burstiness, where participants are encouraged to generate ideas rapidly without overthinking or self-censoring.
  5. Facilitator’s Role: The facilitator should guide the session, ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute their ideas. They should encourage active participation, manage time effectively, and maintain a positive and non-judgmental environment.
  6. Idea Documentation: Record all ideas during the session, either through note-taking, visual aids, or digital tools. This ensures that no idea is lost and allows for later evaluation and refinement.
  7. Idea Evaluation and Selection: After the ideation session, assess and filter the ideas based on predetermined criteria. Identify the most promising concepts that align with the project’s objectives and can be developed further.


Ideation is an essential stage in the design thinking process, where idea generation takes center stage. By fostering a collaborative and innovative environment, conducting productive ideation sessions, and employing diverse ideation techniques, you can unlock the potential for groundbreaking solutions. Embrace the power of ideation to drive your design projects towards innovation and success.

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