||How can ideas be generated and harvested for strategy-building?
Here's a simple guideline we use when working with clients:
There must first be a list of possible goals to serve as idea targets. We start with a generic list, and then add to it. Client management participates in creating the target goals. This step may be repeated several times throughout a project: opportunity scanning, and options generation, for example.
- Recruit a broad spectrum of people into the ideation process. Include some customers, suppliers, sales people, and front line employees. When group ideation in underway, not all participants need to be involved at once. We've found that for oral group sessions the ideal number is 7 to 9, for other methods, e.g. electronic meeting rooms, a larger team can be involved at the same time.
- A set of creativity tools must be deployed and made available. The trick is to provide a number of tools that individual participants can use as desired. In groups, this same flexibility can be allowed, although structured group exercises can be valuable. For group sessions, clear ground rules must be followed.
- Use both group interaction and solo ideation work . Group interaction has limits. Individual work is often more valuable, as it forces team members to think independently.
- Plan incubation cycles. Formal ideation is high stimulant. Ideas hatch in the off hours. (See #6)
- Provide idea-capturing formats to all participants. Some form of an 'idea notepad' keeps the idea-generation agenda in front of team members, and is ready to capture ideas in the middle of the night.
There are specific idea tools and techniques that help uncover opportunities. At Power Decisions Group, we use a broad range of aids: computer ideation software, personal interviews, written exercises, and concise summaries of data analysis.
See more about our idea generation services.