If you want to stay and even win the design race then you will need to have a clear idea about Ideation. Ideation by it is easy to define. It is actually a process in which you create, develop and then communicate any new ideas. These ideas can be anything and everything and can take many forms such as:
- Verbal idea
- Visual idea
- A concrete idea or
- An abstract idea.
It is typically a simple principle of creating a process through which you can innovate, improve and actualize a new product.
Ideation is a very significant aspect in the design and is essential for both the learning experience designers as well as the established UX designers. This statement is in keeping with the famous statement of the world famous artist Pablo Picasso who said, “I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else.”
Ideation needs to be effective but it certainly does not need to be beautiful. The main point here is to create new ideas rather than focus on graphic design (PDF) and GRAPHIC DESIGN only! Ideally, you can come up with many different types of a new idea but the most commonly found are in the following patterns:
- Derivation –This is where you take an existing idea and change it afterward for the better, hopefully.
- Problem to a solution – This is where you first find the problem and the solution for it later on which ideally is the most common form of ideation.
- Symbiotic – This is when a group of the idea is taken and then combined together to make it into a single coherent idea.
- Revolutionary – This is where any of the existing principles is smashed derive an entirely new perspective.
- Serendipitous discovery – Also considered to be an accidental discovery this is when a particular idea crops up when you are pursuing something else.
- Targeted innovation – This is when a particular solution is theorized by an iterative process for which the path is not clearly understood in order to create a definitive pathway.
- Artistic innovation – Just as the name suggests this form of ideation is completely in disregard to what is practical and the innovation is made without any constraints.
- Computer-aided innovation – This is where you use computers to create or review solutions and conduct further research.
All of these patterns and processes followed accordingly will result in better User Experience Design by any designer and for any project. However, there may be a few cases where these patterns and processes may not seem to be very practical.
- For example, the revolutionary ideation which is not a practical process and rather a ‘Eureka!’ a moment that typically comes once or twice in a lifetime or
- When you have a limited budget and/or time such as computer-aided or targeted innovation.
Therefore, you as a UX designer must be more practical and look for more prosaic approaches in your ideation that may even include mind mapping, brainstorming, and much more.
Rules for ideation on paper
Yes, you can deploy almost all of your ideation techniques on paper. Even mind mapping and brainstorming are also similar processes but are simply visualized in a different manner. In fact, brainstorming is one of the key tools for ideation amongst all other tools that may bring out similar results for a project.
Ideation on paper is ideally for blog content but follows the same principles. All you have to do is get those sticky notes down and organize them ruthlessly then after. However, there are a few rules to follow for initial ideation so that you can create ideas in their multitudes, individually or as a team. Once you have finished with the ideation process you can sit down to examine those for practical considerations. The rules that are needed to be followed are:
- Prepare a space by putting up posters with the design models, user personas, processes to be followed for the project, and problem in hand. The more contexts you have the easier it will be to come up with new and better ideas.
- When it comes to initial ideation there are no bad ideas. The main intention should be in creating ideas and not judge them.
- If you come up with any unrelated ideas you should note it down and keep it aside for further discussion.
- Volume is very important during initial ideation and therefore you should write it down and move on instead of wasting time on probing any particular idea in depth.
- Use a lot of space and use more sticky-notes to paste them on everything you find in the room. This will help the participants to connect seemingly all the unrelated ideas and further enhance them.
Make sure that there are no distractions and be as specific as possible. You can create better ideas when the phones and laptops are switched off, the door locked from inside and a sign of “Do not disturb” outside. If you cannot articulate your ideas in writing, draw them making sure that you include all the data possible to make your idea useful. Do not take more than 2 hours for the entire process.
Structuring the ideas
Once you are done with the rules, it is time to get creative. Lay down the rules to structure your ideas. Group them according to the specific areas. Some common areas to consider are the:
- Pain Points
- Opportunities and
- Process Steps.
When you get stuck follow these simple techniques to get things flowing:
- Break the project constraints
- Compare a phrase that encapsulates the issues with real-world examples
- Try turning it into a haiku or poem because word structures often deliver new ideas
- To think and create keep asking how and why
- Use laddering to move problems from abstract to concrete or vice-versa to think these from another perspective
- Steal ideas from other industries but do not copy and even
- Invert the problem to make you think differently.
Lastly, review and filter the ideas to make it manageable and discard the ‘bad’ and retain the ‘good’ ones.
Ideation is a fun thing for a designer but is best done in groups.