Start Your Journey from Concept to Completion with Ideation

The term “ideation” is often thrown around in several industries, but what does it really mean to “ideate”?

Generally defined as “the process of generating and communicating new ideas,” the semantic meanings of ideation often vary by purpose and field. Everything from engineering to marketing has its own definition of ideation, but one theme transcends industry: for people who crave innovation, there is nothing better than brainstorming.

In manufacturing, ideation sessions are primarily viewed as a way to improve existing products or create new ones through problem solving. Engineers, designers, consultants, and other professionals come together to share concepts with one goal in mind: to solve challenges while utilizing different viewpoints and harnessing the full power of the creative process.

But what makes for a fun, energetic, and productive ideation session?

Diversity – An eclectic mix of backgrounds, professions, and work styles creates an environment where existing issues can be looked at from all sides and perspectives. While a creative individual may look at aesthetics, an engineer may view a product from a purely mechanical or functional perspective. An environment that encourages these different views allows ideas to blossom, and a diverse workgroup usually has a better chance of finding an ideal solution to their challenge.

Focused facilitation – The person that leads an ideation session should be educated in innovative techniques that stimulate the brain and promote discussion. Team-building exercises, prompts, and other methods lead to generating an abundance of ideas, and an established judge-free zone fosters an emphasis on ideas rather than sheer logic or criticism.

An ideal venue – Locking everyone in a drab conference room does little to bolster creativity (or their spirits). It’s best to select a venue that complements the session itself, and an open space with a splash of color can go a long way. The facilitator is also encouraged to determine optimal comfort in the selected space, and since sessions often last several hours, the power of snacks should never be underestimated.

Purpose – One of the most important things about an ideation session is staying focused. Outlining the objective and expected outcome at the beginning of the meeting is imperative to keeping everyone organized and on the same page. This is often done by the facilitator (or facilitating group) and can sometimes be accompanied by supplemental market or ethnographic research.

An element used to weigh the success of an ideation session lies in the meeting’s conclusion. After ideas are fleshed out, refined, and presented, team members should feel accomplished and satisfied with their work. A positive, substantial end result lead to better implementation and feelings of contentment across the board, building a great environment that fosters creativity and teamwork.

Want to find out how a MAGNET ideation session can solve your technical challenges? Call Linda Barita at 216.391.7766 or email linda.barita@magnetwork.org

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Posted by Liz Fox in Innovation

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