Ideation: Generating and narrowing ideas for prototyping

Ideation: Generating and narrowing ideas for prototyping

Generally, after gaining full empathy of user experiences, our understanding of the problem undergoes severe changes. It is not unusual to hit the ideation stage with an entirely new set of questions or challenges to create solutions for.

At this stage we understand the challenges and can now start creating solutions for your users. We have found it most useful to come up with ideas in “buckets”. This allows us to create the widest possible range of ideas within a particular challenge point. The shape and format of the buckets varies depending on client needs. Sometimes buckets are low points in a customer journey map, sometimes they are grouped according to how they align with strategic goals of the organization (or not).

Ideas captured in grouped, multi-colored post-it notesOur sessions are no longer than an hour and generate between 20 and 60 different ideas.

When we get participation and buy-in from all stakeholders -- customers/members, different teams within an organization and members of our own team from different disciplines -- we can be sure we're coming up with a comprehensive set of ideas.

We get the obvious solutions out of our heads and then push ourselves to the more unique solutions that may be more innovative.

Some ideas are huge – rebrand yourself as a global authority, redesign X part of the conference experience, etc. The result is generally a large wall full of sticky notes. The stickies are then organized by the organizational goal that they support.

As a team, we decide which initial ideas will be the ones presented to the client for prototyping. The criteria for deciding depends on the client’s particular needs.

We make sure to carry several ideas forward.

If we have a deeper engagement with the client, we then go through those ideas line by line and talk through which are viable, what it would take to make them happen, what resources are needed to create and maintain them, and what we want to include in an initial engagement and what might go into a future phase of the project.

In our experience, it really helps for the client to see what they think the customer journey looks like side-by-side with how the customer perceives their own experience. That's the most impactful way to generate buy-in from internal stakeholders. And when our client can see where their assumptions don't align with the experience of their customer, it's much more impactful.

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