The ideation process is thrown into overdrive when we are given a deadline. It seems as though time restraint is the rocket that fuels the creative process. At the beginning of the project it seemed we had a lot of time to develop the concept, prototypes and pitches but as time flies and the closer to the deadline we get, the more easily solutions present themselves. Things that just seemed like fleeting ideas and passing comments at the beginning of the project are getting rehashed with new clarity and in a way that now make sense. It seems that everything has come full circle. All the ideation and brainstorming that previously look place and seemed like a chaotic dust of ideas has now settled into a beautifully put together puzzle. We have been testing our concept on a variety of users, from instigators and facilitators to our end users with only slight changes needing to made. Having conducted so much empathy work at the beginning and feeding back our ideas to all stakeholders along the way, has put us in a position where ideation and brainstorming quality has increased yet time in doing so has dramatically reduced. Ideation sessions that used to last hours are now done in a fraction of the time with better results generated.
Having all your ducks in a row before you start and then putting clearly defined restrictions on deliverables increases the productivity and effectiveness of each session. Another technique we have introduced into our sessions is that once we feel we have a good concept, we bounce the idea off some unsuspecting person who is not involved in the project giving them minimal information to try to get them to pick holes in the concept which we then try to patch up. Having this fresh set of eyes and ears gives you a whole new perspective on the problem and allows you to assess the issues that you had previously over looked. When we come to a road block on our project, we try to look at the issue through the back door as opposed to the front door. This gives us another perspective and tends to generate fresh and insightful thought. Selecting ideas that are worth pursuing is not a random selection but a careful selection of key concepts that keep popping up in each session. These ideas can often be overlooked which is why documenting and relooking over old sessions is so valuable. One of our concepts that was thrown into the mix at the beginning as a prototype, was put onto the back burner as we could not seen how it added value to our system or could even be put into practice. This concept has now been developed into a working prototype that has been tried and tested on users with great success.
Ideation has many different forms and stages. Some stages need pressure added to the mix and others need to be massaged to maturity. Identifying what is needed at a particular stage of the ideation process is key.