If you want to come up with the next big thing (of course you do), you need to know how to run a proper ideation session. Every great product or service in the market today started out as an idea in someone’s head, and it was brought to life by a group of creative, motivated, and inspired people. Let your next ideation session be the one that creates your organisation’s next big idea!
Ideation: Planting the seeds of creativity
If there is ever a stage in product development where you can go crazy, this is it. This is where you think out of the box or “go wide” to capture the best prospects. But it’s easier said than done. Knowing what ideation is and that it’s needed in the creativity process is one thing. Knowing how to make full use of the ideation process is another entirely. So, let’s look at making your next session work.
Do not come in empty-handed
While the goal of the ideation process is to build a new idea from scratch, your team should not go into the meeting blank and uninspired. Coming up with something original is not as easy as it sounds, so it is important for the group to get a head start. By having a few rough ideas beforehand, they can hit the ground running and get a lot of things done right away. Feed your team some ideas beforehand to get the ball rolling. You could draw on previous sessions, consider case studies from other categories and how those ideas could be applied in your industry, or even source ideas from strangers!
How to run an ideation session effectively: Start the right way
To run a productive brainstorming session, you need to set the direction early. Doing this will define what your goal is, so your team can start working towards it collectively. While it is true that ideation is a free-flowing process, you still need to set the agenda so that the group knows what they are dealing with and what to expect moving forward. It is also the perfect opportunity for all the members to voice any concerns or personal preferences that could potentially affect the whole team.
Light up the fire
Knowing how to run an ideation session means knowing how to inspire. To start off on the right footing, work on casting the right team to begin with. Ensure you have cross-functional expertise in the room so that you get more diverse ideas to the table and a better idea of which ideas hold merit and are worth pursuing. You’ll also need to convince your team that what you are trying to do is worth doing. Inspiration is a very powerful fuel that can drive creative people to do great things. Make sure that all members are on the same page and equally engaged. Having just one person who is not invested in the project can make things more difficult than they have to be.
Create the perfect setting
Get your team’s creative juices flowing by building a positive environment for them. Make them feel that they are in a safe place where every suggestion or recommendation is respected – no exception.
Once you make it clear that the room has no room for negativity, everyone will be encouraged to be bolder and to take risks when it comes to their thought processes. Give them space to do what they do best. Allow them to work in pairs or in groups. Just make sure that they have enough tools to document their ideas, like whiteboards and work tables. Here are also some tips and tricks if you are holding your session virtually.
Aside from knowing how to run an ideation session, knowing how often they should be held could make all the difference. Once a year may not be enough. Consumer behaviour can change from time to time, and technology can evolve even more quickly. Keep your ideation sessions regular to keep in touch with your target audience and stay ahead of the competition.
If you are going to hold ideation sessions make them count, otherwise there’s no point. Get a good team together, well-prepped beforehand so they can come in all guns blazing and fire up some excellent ideas from the get-go.