If you have ever been in a properly run brainstorming session, you know these sessions where you have to come up with weird ideas on the fly, you might have heard this sentence: quantity over quality.
In ideation we are at first not focused on the quality of ideas but on the quantity. Why? Because we believe that even a dumb idea can lead to a less dumb idea, which then can lead us to an OK idea, and which can then lead us to a great idea.
And as I said before, ideation uses a divergent mode of thinking. This means, the measure of success in a divergent mode of thinking is quantity as we want to open things as much as possible.
Now let me ask you a very weird question: if you have one kid and one dies. How would you feel? Devastated right? Yeah that would be terrible, that should never happen. But now imagine, you still have a kid who dies. But instead of having just two kinds, you have 3000 kids. How would you feel? I bet that you would feel much less devastated. Still sad, but life would have to keep on going as you have still 2999 other kids to take care of. And if you are like me, with that many kids, you certainly wouldn't even remember his name.
Okay, that's a very dark image. But it's an image that helps us understand one thing: it's much easier to let go an idea when you have created dozens of them, than when you have just a few of them.
Therefore, we create a lot of ideas so that we can be less emotional when it will come to the moment where we will have to choose which ideas we pursue.
Another view of this can be taught by basic economics. The more ideas there are out there, the less value they have. It's basics offer and demand. When the offer is higher than the demand, value, or price drops. Again, we are artificially diminishing the value of our ideas by creating lots of them.
Basics of Ideation for Innovation (Alpha version)
A future course teaching ideation theory and methods.