Step 9: Ideation and brainstorming
“Ideation” refers to the process of creating new concepts or ideas – it comes into play at key steps in the biodesign innovation process when new solutions are required to address well-defined needs. “Brainstorming” has developed a specific meaning in the design tradition, as a set of methods for ideation that is based on the power of group creativity. This approach requires participants to temporarily suspend their instinct to criticize new ideas and open their minds to a rapid flow of new possibilities and connections(Yock et al., 2015).
The purpose of brainstorming is to push the biodesign innovation process forward toward the final goal of one good idea and one good development strategy to support the idea. However, it is important to recognize that, like needs finding, brainstorming may result in tens or hundreds of ideas that need to be screened, sorted, and then evaluated before any single idea is chosen (Zenios et al., 2010).
(Zenios et al., 2010)
- Defer judgment
The point is to suspend any critical thoughts or commentary until later in the innovation process (well after the brainstorming session). The purpose of brainstorming is to open both individual creativity and the group’s creative process. One good way to make this happen is to accept any new idea – even those suggestions that seem at first to be impractical or silly – and move on quickly to the next concept (7 Simple Rules of Brainstorming – IDEO U, n.d.).
- Encourage wild ideas
When brainstorming, participants should do more than suspend their critical filters. They should practice thinking in new and different ways to generate ideas that are “outside the box” (7 Simple Rules of Brainstorming – IDEO U, n.d.).
- Build on the ideas of others
Building on the ideas of others means leveraging one idea as a foundation from which to make another suggestion (7 Simple Rules of Brainstorming – IDEO U, n.d.).
- Go for quantity
One way to achieve this flow is to set a target goal for the group to create a large number of concepts without regard to how “good” the ideas are. A typical brainstorming session lasts for approximately 60 to 90 minutes (7 Simple Rules of Brainstorming – IDEO U, n.d.).
- One conversation at a time
The critical concept underlying this rule is that listening can be as important as talking during the creative process (7 Simple Rules of Brainstorming – IDEO U, n.d.).
- Stay focused on the topic
To help a group stay focused, it is important to avoid distractions, side conversations, real-time analysis, and filtering of ideas (this comes later) (7 Simple Rules of Brainstorming – IDEO U, n.d.).
- Be visual
It is useful to have blackboards, whiteboards, large flip pads, sticky notes and/or other means of drawing and writing that encourage an open, fast, and unlimited flow of ideas (7 Simple Rules of Brainstorming – IDEO U, n.d.).
Step 10: Concept screening
Concept screening involves comparing all these ideas against the defined need specification to evaluate how well they satisfy the need. This process also involves organizing the ideas into related groups to identify potential gaps or biases in the proposed solutions, as well as opportunities to combine ideas into unique, synergistic solutions that better address the need than any individual concept (Ipsos Encyclopedia - Concept Screening | Ipsos, n.d.).
(Zenios et al., 2010)