Ideation Process: The Ultimate Guide to Ideation Techniques

All projects start with an idea. From a bake sale to raise money for new uniforms to a new, innovative product line for your company, the process always starts with an idea. The more ideas you can think up directly relates to your chances of creating a workable plan.

When you first start a project, it might be difficult to come up with ideas, especially good ones. The ideation process can help you get your creative juices flowing and come up with an idea that meets your needs.

This guide helps you understand the ideation process and shows you some of the best ideation techniques to come up with a winning idea:

What is ideation

Ideation is part of a concept called the Design Thinking Process. It's actually the third phase of this process. The purpose of this phase is to come up with ideas. These don't need to be the perfect idea.

If you're working with a team, everyone has the opportunity to express their ideas without judgment from others. The ideas can be good or bad, but the more you encourage the verbalization of ideas means the more that you have to choose a final idea.

There are many techniques that can help you and your team imagine more ideas.

Different techniques for the ideation process

During an ideation session, there are techniques that you can use to make the process more fruitful. You can experiment with the varying ideation methods and find the one that works best for you. Here are a few to consider:

  • Worst possible ideas: If your team is new to the ideation process, this technique can help you put everyone at ease. By creating the worst ideas, your team paves the way for the best ones.
  • Brainstorming: You've probably already used this method before. It's an oldie, but effective. Team members throw out ideas in the hopes that others can add to them and create a brilliant, workable idea.
  • Mindmapping: In 1972, Tony Buzan created the concept of mindmapping to generate ideas. It's a visual technique that allows you to connect ideas and concepts together in new ways. You start with one keyword at the center and then connect others that come to mind when you think of the original word. You connect these ideas with lines and curves creating a map.
  • Challenge assumptions: Your team has preconceived notions about what does and doesn't make an idea good or even workable within your company. With their ideation method, you list all of these assumptions and then look at each one individually to determine if it's true or not. You may find that you've been creating ideas under false assumptions and are now free to let your imagination soar.
  • Brainwriting: This is very similar to brainstorming. However, instead of each person verbally announcing ideas, the first person writes their ideas on a sheet of paper and passes it to the next. This person reads the ideas and adds their own. This continues around the room until everyone has had a chance to add ideas. The list is reviewed and all ideas are discussed.
  • Storyboarding: This is a visual exercise, and you start by using the intended end user. From there, you create stories that feature different ideas and how those ideas might play out with the consumer.

The ideation process can help you find the right idea when you use the method that works best for you.


The ideation process can help you increase productivity and creativity. Some ideation techniques, such as mindmapping and storyboarding, are more easily done using a software program. MindManager has all the software you need to start an ideation method today.

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