Ideation is like any other tool. Badly used it can create some weird shit. Here a few of the dangers that I have personally witnessed and that come from badly done ideation.
It felt enough, so we stopped there
Often people think that finding new ideas is basically all there is to the innovation process. Which is definitely not the case. But when you have that type of thinking, you'll do some ideation rounds with colleagues and once you have some cool ideas you say: "Wow we innovated!". And then it stops there.
“Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” — Thomas Edison
This quote from Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb shows that innovation needs more than just great ideas. It needs a lot of work after that. So, one first big dangers of ideation is to believe that it's enough to innovate.
"Ideation without execution is delusion" — Robin Sharma
It's just team building with stupid ideas
I've seen many companies use idea generation workshops as an opportunity to do some team building. The idea is that it will be a fun exercice where the team can bond. When this is the focus, the team isn't ready to do the hard work. And there is a focus on making it fun over making it productive. This leads to what many call the innovation theater: doing as if we were innovative but stop there. If you want to do some team building buy a few beers and pizzas and that should do the trick. No need to spend thousands of bucks in an external facilitator, a fancy event location and loosing a full day of work for nothing.
It's just weird stuff that isn't applicable
Many idea generation sessions just end up with ideas that don't help fix the problem. The ideas generated are too technological, like "we should do an uber for X", or "what if we brought artificial intelligence in it".
Okay. So by now you should have a view about ideation which can be summarized in something like this:
Ideation is a great process to create many ideas, which will help me avoid being stuck with the first dumb idea I have. But when used badly it can create some fucked up and frustrating situation.
So how can you make sure that you don't fuck it up? That's what we will discover in the second chapter of this course 😉
Basics of Ideation for Innovation (Alpha version)
A future course teaching ideation theory and methods.