That's all good and well. The core principles we covered until now will help you to come up with very different and creative ideas. But there is one piece missing to make them valuable: research.
What happens before ideation?
Ideation is a moment that doesn't come as the first part of the innovation or design process. In fact, innovators and designers often do two more steps before they start looking for new ideas.
First, they go out in the world and try to understand the problem they are trying to solve. They look for existing studies, talk with the people who experience the problem, observe people in those situation. Yeah they do some research.
Then, they do a second step, which academics love to call synthesis. Basically innovators and designers then create sort of summary of the most important things they have learned from that discovery or research phase.
At that stage, the innovator or designer, feels that he has an okay understanding of the problem. So now he his ready to look for new ideas to solve this problem.
Ideation without research is often worthless
Trying to fix a problem when you don't understand the problem can be very difficult. That's basically what happens when you do ideation without prior research. I don't mean that every one involved in the ideation process should do some research, but that some research should have been done, and its results shared in the form of a simple to understand summary.
The research will give a lot of little inspirations to people to start creating ideas. Like the scribbles my old teacher forced me to do on my white sheet of paper.
What research element help for ideation?
So what are good research elements that help people create new ideas? Here a list of elements that have helped me in the past:
Stories of the people who are faced with the problem showing the context of the people
A list of common frustrations with the problem that people experience
A few examples of solutions that people use to solve the problem today and why they aren't happy with the solution
Yep. Good ideation needs some serious prep work before it can be done.
Basics of Ideation for Innovation (Alpha version)
A future course teaching ideation theory and methods.