The Ideation Process

In this week’s class our group brainstormed ideas for the semester project. Our main objective during this session was identifying everyday problems that people face. We delved deeper into the process and targeted college students. At the end of the session, our group came up with three How Can We statements:

#1. How can we help young professionals tie a tie more efficiently?

#2. How can we help college students stop losing their items (phones, wallets, and keys)?

#3. How can we help young adults have more optimal audio experience?

Through these statements, we were able to think of products that could address the issues. For example, in addressing statement #2, we came up with a stopper that clips onto the bottom part of a T-shirt and the pant pocket to prevent things from falling out. As a group we decided to spend more time outside class to brainstorm ideas and coming up with more HCW statements. I think the HCW statements are a great starting point for a business idea because they are empathetic to the consumer’s needs and asks a question that can be answered in a variety of ways.

In an article from Science magazine, the authors argue that creativity is more efficient when there is a structure laid out or a framework to follow. The structure is clearly defined and may have constraints imposed. HCW statements fall under this type of creative process, since there is a sentence format to follow. Creating ideas from randomness, while still holding value, is seen as inefficient in problem-solving. I agree with the authors’ statement that creativity is “assessed by  the eyes of the beholder.” I believe both brainstorming creative ideas and coming up with an idea randomly are both effective. However, the ideas will need fine tuning as suggested in this article on evaluating business ideas.

The questions evaluate business ideas by placing them in reality. Are there enough resources? Do they address consumer needs? What are the positives and negatives of this business idea? Once you are able to answer all the questions posed, I believe your ideas will become more concrete and well defined. From this, you can set strategies for moving from the ideation phase to the prototyping phase.

There are several ways to help with the creative process. Forbes suggests individually working out and solving the problems and then meeting with your group to brainstorm. It’s important to note that brainstorming sessions can be ineffective unless certain guidelines are established. Another article from Entrepreneur suggests shying away from the need to be perfect and coming up with as many ideas, even if they’re bad. At the end of the day, I think we should try out whichever creative processes and stick with the one that work better for us.

4 thoughts on “The Ideation Process

  1. Hey Peter,
    Great post! I agree, our team came up with three very relevant and specific problems that could easily be addressed through a new product. I really enjoyed reading the article from Entrepreneur; thanks for sharing. Having the ability to not worry about having the “perfect” idea, and instead focusing on creating, innovating, and prototyping is a unique skill that not many people have. Often times we are afraid of failure, and while at times you might fail, if you have a strong team and the appropriate process than the majority of ideas will succeed. Although this is a bit extraneous, one source of the power of persistence that I constantly refer to is the list of Abraham Lincoln’s failures (can be found here: Although he lost eight elections and failed at running two businesses, he was still ultimately successful.

  2. Hey,
    I think that the how can we statements that your group came up with are useful and simple problems that can be addressed. You also did a great job summarizing the article. Using questions to challenge the users thought process is very interactive. I checked those resources from Forbes and Entrepreneur, and hope to employ them with the new method we learnt in class. Other resources to learn more about this is also Edward de Bono’s article ‘Creativity is easier when it’s structured’. Good luck making progress on your project.

  3. Similarilly, I thought your “how can we” statements were a good point into how to start with coming up with ideas. Our group at 1st had a hard type identifying how to come up with a specific solution, however when we phrased it with how can we do … it helped phrase the solution in a way that we were creating something that had viable demand to a consumer.

  4. Hey,

    I really like the way you think about the “how can we” statements. How can we statements are indeed a great place to start for this project. First, you find something vague, and you can keep on improving the how can we statement to fit a specific community. I will definitely look back at this post to see if our group is able to answer those three questions. If we do, then we are clearly in good shape.

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