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Methods for Group Ideation and Brainstorming

Postby ryanid » April 30th, 2013, 2:10 pm


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Are there any resources for creating group based ideation sessions?

Specifically, taking insights and building idea generation around them effectively?

This is something I haven't really done with a larger group (all non-designers) and am feeling out of my comfort zone! Thanks for the help.

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My colleagues and I recently wrote a load of loose briefs for upcoming development and product launch. I work for a home/kitchenware brand with a small (category-wise) but widening product range, so we have partnered with a chef/food writer/presenter who we use for a range of development and marketing tasks.

We visited her for two days, and initially met some local food producers too.

The brainstorming was simply 6 of us (me being the only designer), 3 flip chart pads and a load of sharpies, discussing the briefs, aided by our colleagues small catering kitchen and it's ingredients, as well as her general home-furnishings and accessories.

I guess the key ingredients (no pun intended!) were enthusiastic people, a method of recording the work, some scene-setting background work, and easy access to visual prompts and associated products.

And lots of tea, cakes, and wonderful food and wine after hours.

We left with a far clearer understanding of what the goals were, so were able to nail down the briefs and start the design and development work.

Re: Methods for Group Ideation and Brainstorming

Postby Lmo » April 30th, 2013, 5:30 pm

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Come to think of it ryan, this probably was the better forum for your question.

Thanks for deleting the other one and reposting it here. :wink:

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Re: Methods for Group Ideation and Brainstorming

Postby yo » April 30th, 2013, 7:28 pm

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I usually use a series of exercises to break it down for people.

Usually start by having a research read out so everyone starts from a similar baseline. Then break into teams of 3 (just the right size, no one can not participate in a team of 3) and launch into 45 minute exercises. At the end of each 45 minute work session there is a 15 minute read out where each team presents their concepts to the group, then the groups switch trade concepts and build/refine off of those.

For example, the first exercise might be to write problem statements, or use cases. Teams trade problem statements then the second might be to think of a solution for the problem statement (I'll usually throw in a twist for each team, like solution must include or not include x technology). Third exercise might be to list the problems with the concepts you have been handed. Fourth to solve those problems... and so on. Then I usually will end the session with a forced rank of some kind, or mapping the concepts on a 2x2.

Usually I have one designer on each team to sketch concepts as they go. Also this takes 2 days.


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Awesome input. Thanks guys.

Just a question... do you incorporate the research (and insights) into these ideation sessions? Or are those insights translated into problem statements.

I have a ton of insights to spark inspiration (works great for my individual design process). Are these thought-provoking insights more useful for a designer than a group of people who probably think creatively a lot less often?

Just trying to translate my list of Positive, Negative, Interesting into a format understandable (and usable) to a group.

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Sometimes I will randomly assign insights for groups to play with. Or I'll list out the presented insights onto post it notes and tell each team captain to select 2 to start with, or something like that.


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