How to Facilitate an Effective Ideation Session

Facilitating the ideation process involves an understanding of the human mind and thought patterns as well as a host of factors such as creating the right environment and goals, which we’ll break down for you here.

During the ideation stage, you can focus on the ideation. From a psychological point of view, it represents a process of continuous expansion in concepts and outcomes. Ideation provides the fuel and raw material for building prototypes and delivering innovative solutions to users. ——, An Introduction to Design Thinking PROCESS GUIDE

Elements that Influence Ideation Sessions:

  • Mindsets: Master and apply the mindsets needed to successfully generate the right ideas.
  • Personnel dynamics: keep track of personnel dynamics and maintain team cohesion to avoid constant internal conflicts.
  • Clear goals: Understand goals, users, needs, desires, and related information. You should articulate these as a problem statement (also known as a point of view) before you start ideating.
  • Tools and Methods: Utilize appropriate creative methodologies and associated creative tools to streamline the process for ideation challenges.
  • Constraints: Know how to use appropriate constraints to generate ideas that fit the team’s goals.
  • Stimulus: Collection and appropriate use of creative tools combined with the right mindset to overcome barriers to idea generation.
  • Environment: Establish and maintain physical or social spaces that provide openness, freedom of expression, and creativity.

Way of thinking

Creativity relies on the interplay between a range of cognitive processes and thought patterns or states of mind . For best results, you need to consciously choose to apply them at relevant stages, and you can swap them out and recombine them to produce unconventional recipes.

Vertical Thinking — Linear Thinking

Vertical thinking method is a thinking method that seeks solutions to problems in an upward or downward vertical thinking method according to a certain thinking line or thinking logic. This is a method of self-expansion of the mind. , rigor and profundity are known. Vertical thinking is best used in the early ideation phases (see below) and towards the end.

Binary thinking

Binary thinking sees the world through a yes/no lens. In other words: black and white. Either one or the other, right or wrong, regardless of what is correct and beneficial in other solutions, simply make a choice and choose between the two.

This is the antithesis of solving innovative or human-centered design. Solutions need to span a range of needs and expectations, the complexity of which requires a broader and more holistic understanding to create.

Horizontal Thinking – Divergent Thinking

Horizontal thinking is for vertical thinking (logical thinking). Horizontal thinking method is a creative thinking method that promotes innovation. It refers to getting rid of the inherent mode of something, observing and thinking about one thing from multiple angles and sides, and being good at capturing the ideas that happen unexpectedly, so as to produce unexpected ideas. “Creativity”.

A respected authority on creative thinking and the direct teaching of thinking as a skill, Edward de Bono has been called the “Father of Innovative Thinking.” In his book “The Use of Horizontal Thinking” (1967), Dr. Edward proposed the term “horizontal thinking” and developed a thinking training model “Six Thinking Hats”, which is also a comprehensive thinking method. Model.

Horizontal thinking is not to consider the certainty of things too much, but to consider the possibility of multiple choices; it is not concerned with perfecting old viewpoints, but how to put forward new viewpoints; it is not blindly pursuing correctness, but pursuing richness . The vertical thinking method focuses on existing experience and knowledge, and generates creativity by recombining old experience and knowledge.

The lateral thinking method refers to getting rid of existing knowledge and old experience constraints when thinking about problems, breaking through routines, and putting forward creative insights, viewpoints and solutions.

Dr. Edwards believes that creative thinking is not so much a gift as a skill that can be learned. You will achieve creative thinking through the conscious use of specific steps and techniques.

The Uncertainty of Lateral Thinking

The uncertainty of lateral thinking may inspire unconventional ways of seeing things.

In the simplest terms, uncertainty is considered an idea that is too aggressive and unrealistic for regular brainstorming.

The idea is to force your brain out of your comfort zone and instead allow you to come up with a potential root solution to the problem at hand:

  • randomize
  • contradiction
  • reverse
  • distortion
  • exaggerate
  • topic mining
  • analogy
  • question norms
  • wishes and dreams
  • escape from reality
  • break assumptions

Dr. Edward’s 6 thinking hats (6 thinkingHats) technique and the SCAMPER method are two excellent tools for evaluating options. They effectively use lateral thinking to broaden the range of inputs used to stimulate inspiration.

Both of these techniques divide thinking into fixed patterns, which breaks down thinking patterns allowing more ideas to flow. However, using both approaches effectively requires participants or idea facilitators to have a good sense of when to pause and redirect the team’s thinking, and even apply new thought triggers along the way.

How to Facilitate an Effective Ideation Session

Disruptive thinking

One of the most successful ways to solve problems and generate ideas is disruptive thinking, which involves looking at an existing paradigm and turning it upside down. The purpose of disruption involves taking existing assumptions and overturning them, making the impossible possible. It requires the use of lateral thinking to achieve a paradigm shift. In the story, it is equivalent to the turning point of the story.

Three ways of thinking about the ideation process

1. Divergent thinking

Divergent thinking is a diffuse thinking mode presented by the brain. It starts from a goal, thinks along various ways, and seeks a variety of answers . The main function of divergent thinking is to provide as many solutions as possible for subsequent convergent thinking. It is impossible for each of these solutions to be very correct and valuable, but there must be sufficient guarantees in quantity.

2. Emergent thinking

It’s an in-between way of thinking that stimulates new ideas through the inspiration that emerges during the early divergent stages . Often, what emerges in the later thinking process would not have been possible without the adequate stimulus provided by early chaotic divergent thinking. Many ideation methods rely on sudden surges of inspiration to make connections from which to generate new ideas.

3. Convergent thinking

Convergent thinking means that in the process of solving problems, the existing knowledge and experience are used as much as possible, and the numerous information and problem-solving possibilities are gradually guided into a logical sequence, and finally a logical and standardized solution is obtained. conclusion . Creativity and design thinking is not a crazy activity where impractical or impossible solutions do need to be weeded out. Or put overly ambitious solutions on hold for a rainy day.

Convergent thinking thinks in one direction of the problem among numerous phenomena, clues, and information, and draws the best conclusion and best solution based on the existing experience, knowledge or the best method for the problem in divergent thinking. It keeps creativity high enough that valuable ideas aren’t rejected just because they don’t follow logical norms.

Clarify goals and problem statement

Whether or not you have some of the world’s best minds (or expert consultants) on your team, it’s easy to get lost in the infinite space of thinking without a clear enough map. Creativity can go in so many different directions, the possibilities are almost limitless. Having a grasp of the current challenges, target users, needs of the target market, and a host of other constraints helps to focus more on the ideation process .

An unconstrained random idea process can be energizing and fun for a team, but be prepared to waste time and not produce anything of value. Only when the challenge/problem statement/point of view are clearly presented can you steer the boat in the right direction .


Stimuli such as confusing information, creative material from Pegasus, etc. increase the collective cognitive load. Stimulus sparks new connections and avenues of thought, helping to generate unexpected and unconventional ideas . The stimuli applied depend on the needs of the group, whether input in the form of characters, affinity maps, images, analogies, keywords, quotes, stories, or even video collages can fire collective neurons. It is the leader’s task to discern which stimulus to deliver at the right time.

Stimuli such as user pictures and quotes help spark new connections and thought paths that can help bring designers to unexpected, unconventional ideas.

Qualified Creative Leader

As we discover the principle of diversity as we explore the nature of innovative teamwork. Assembling a diverse team of diverse mindsets can help provide the diversity needed. Add openness, mutual respect, and self-discipline, and you’re one step closer to design thinking flourishing in radical collaboration. Ideation facilitation requires experience and expertise in a range of human dynamics, not to mention an understanding of the principles and methods of implementation.

Investing in external skills or internal development (creative leadership training) is important for any organization that needs to continually seek creative solutions. Maria Giudice and Christopher Ireland’s book “Rise of The DEO” (Rise of The DEO) mentions the professional qualities of creative leadership, including empathy, social intelligence, Decisive, adventurous, executive, predictive and keen business sense .

Idea facilitators need to be acutely aware of the people they lead, their mindsets, their cognitive and creative abilities, and how to leverage these to produce innovative results.


When you are planning a creative meeting or design thinking session, it is important to choose the right atmosphere as it will have a significant impact on the outcome. The environmental atmosphere affects the harmony of people’s emotions, thinking and collaboration, which will directly lead to the quality of creative output .

Ideally, creative spaces should be far removed from normal work environments that stifle creativity and remind participants of unpleasant work experiences. Participants should also stay away from distracting or potentially distracting activities by other colleagues. Distractions of this nature can keep them from fully concentrating on the task at hand, and their attention is diverted to other tasks that need to be done across the hall.

Don’t go away

Creativity relies on the interplay between a range of cognitive processes and thought patterns or states of mind. For best results, you need to consciously choose to apply them at relevant stages, and you can swap them out and recombine them to produce unconventional recipes.

The vertical thinking method is a traditional thinking mode represented by logic and mathematics, and is good at the logic, rigor and profoundness of thinking. It is best to use vertical thinking during the ideation phase early in the project and in the final closing phase. Binary thinking sees the world through a yes/no lens. In other words: black and white. Horizontal thinking does not consider the certainty of things too much, but considers the possibility of multiple choices; it is not concerned with perfecting old viewpoints, but how to put forward new viewpoints; it does not blindly pursue correctness, but pursues richness.

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