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Ideation: The Secret to Discovering Your Best Product

The success of your venture is hinged on formulating the best possible solution for your customer needs. And one of the major steps, this process involves, is to look at all the possible solutions and then find the perfect one. Ideation using Design Thinking makes it easier for you to get close to that ideal solution.

Ideation is a process where you are brainstorming all potential ideas against the backdrop of user pain points, your goals, and user personas. In essence, you are exploring multiple possibilities. This also helps you with finding the elements and missing pieces of a puzzle in the user experience.

For context, we are using design thinking approach to prototyping. You start off with experience mapping, persona building, ideation, paper prototyping, then final UI.

In an earlier article, I talked about the importance of Design Thinking for Prototyping and discussed ways to capture and improve your experience mapping exercise.

In this article will go to the next step of ideation.

How to Start?

You need to identify the pain points and goals from the experience mapping experience.

As our way of doing experience mapping also helps in determining the motivation, needs, and factors of the end user; that gives you already ready-made personas to work it.

Now, with the experience map output and the personas, you are ready for ideation.

Steps Involved in Ideation:

1- List all your pain point and goals OR keep the output of experience mapping in front of you.

2- Keep the personas handy, and go through the factors, milestones, and motivation of your user group.

3- Then assemble the team, and make them come up with as many possible solutions to the pain points as possible.

4- Don’t enforce any design constraints or cloud any participant thinking with suggestion or ideas.

5- Feel free to draw whatever solution comes to your mind and keep going till you can’t find any other possible way of building the particular solution.

6- Now go through each and every idea and discuss merits. Critique each one.

7- Keep your personas and experience mapping output handy and go back to them as the basis for decisions.

8- Try identifying as many unique concepts from each design as possible.

9- Now pair people (2 together) to go for another round to synthesize all that has been discussed, discarded, and liked.

Ranking Your Ideation Solution:

Once you have identified all the possible worth pursuing possible. It’s better to label all of them and then use matrices to determine the feasibility of each option.

You can use factors like Long Term/Short Term Revenue Potential, Competition, Timelines, Time to Market Resources, and so for ranking.

In case, some factors, contribute more towards your need, like Time to Market, you might give them more weight.

Once you have ranked them, you would have come up with a solution that addresses your user needs and also factors in your own objectives.

Why does the above process works?

With ideation, you are discovering as many possible variants of solution design as possible. And with each discussion and iteration, you are moving closer to your ideal solution.

Also, you are inherently moving away from the group-thinking curses. By using the above technique you are freeing yourself of the group biases, consensus, heavy-weights. This helps you in incorporating feedback from all contributors, especially from the quiet ones.

Ideation gives you all the future paths that your solution can take. It makes you think outside the design constraints and come up with novel design alternatives.

Summing Up:

The whole purpose of your product is to delight your customer. With ideation, you can invest minimal time, involve all your team members, and can come up with a solution that does just that.

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