Ideation: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Ideation

Often businesses fail not for lack of work ethic but lack of ideas. Starting a business is difficult. Some start with a loan, but this is their first foray into "the real world." Others have worked in an industry long enough to feel they are ready to start a business in their core competency. No matter how you came to be starting a business, however, you are making the decisions and forging your own future.

To make your future a reality, you need to take steps to ensure that you understand your business plan and can make financial decisions based on the data at hand. Sometimes this data will come from financial forecasts and sometimes from your employees. The process of creating and sifting these ideas is called ideation.

What is ideation

Ideation at its core is the process of gathering original ideas. These ideas can come from external sources such as your clients or the internet or internal sources such as your employees. The difficult part is creating an atmosphere where your workers feel free to express themselves and get yourself to accept new ideas. But, when it works, ideation tells you what problems need to be solved and the right way to solve them.

Ideation can take place through brainstorming, informal meetings, and other opportunities to collect ideas. The ideas can be about new services to offer, new products to manufacture, or updates to current products that have a market. Ideations can be specific plans with deadlines or more general concepts that you'd like to see in development.

The important thing about ideation is that every one of your employees has various ideations and brings a variety of viewpoints to the job. Freeing them to use those talents is to create a workplace where ideation is important. Ideation can also come from long-time customers. Who knows better what your business could do better than the people who use your services?

How to use ideation in business

Businesses are built on ideas, whether they are prototypes, blueprints, or programming suggestions. Businesses that close themselves off to ideations stagnate and die. You want to take in information from whoever is willing to give it to you. Your clients, your employees, and trends on the internet. That's not to say that all ideations are actionable, but ignoring them completely puts your business in jeopardy.

Every sale you make and every interaction you have with a customer creates ideations. If you ignore them, your business will stay the same, then slowly slip backward. However, if you take the time to look at the ideation and decide how you want to innovate, you'll always be ahead of the curve in your field. This is because you'll be reacting to ideation in real-time and deciding what, if anything, needs to be changed.

Showing that you value your employees' input makes for longer-lasting, happier employees, and it is expensive to train new employees rather than to retain them. Showing your customers that you value their ideas makes them feel valuable and turns them into loyal customers. Ideations are a balancing act, and you must decide what to take in and what does not work for your organization.


If you are starting a business, you need good ideations to get your business off the ground. If you have a successful business, you need good ideations to keep it successful, retain your employees and create a total customer base. You must create an environment where you are open, internally and externally, for ideation, and then your job is to sift through them and decide which ones to act on and which ones to ignore.

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