The expert guide to product ideation

Your product needs to empathise with the targeted users, understanding their needs and come up with creative innovation solutions to various problems. But how do product owners generate new ideas?

The answer to this lies in product ideation. Product ideation helps you to challenge assumptions, think outside the box and explore uncharted territory. Sounds great right?

Ideation is the process where you generate ideas and solutions through sessions such as sketching, prototyping, brainstorming, brainwriting and other ideation techniques.

Ideation is often the most exciting stage in Design Thinking because tha main aim is to generate a large quantity of ideas that the team can then filter and cut down into the best, most practical or most innovative ones in order to inspire new and better design solutions and products.

Ideation facilitation is a challenging and complex task. It requires experience in understanding and managing teams, people dynamics, flexibility and adaptability which in reality are really hard to master. The best way to learn is to take the theory and techniques you learn from the experts and then apply and test them in your own context and adapt them to your own needs.

In order for you to venture into stormy territory, you need to prepare for a bumpy ride so that you reach the other side of your destination unscatched. Ideation process such as brainstorming is no different. There are various ways to prepare before jumping into the ideation process. Let's get into them.

Empathise - in the empathy mode, you will be able to conduct relevant research and become instant expert on the subject and gain invaluable empathy for the person you are designing for.
Here you bring clarity and focus to the design. It involves synthesizing and making sense of all the available information you gathered during the empathise mode, by discovering connections and patterns. Methods used here may include user stories and personas.

Ideate- here you begin with point Of View or the problem statement. Break the larger challenge into small auctionable pieces. Look for aspects of the statement to complete the sentence; “how might we?”
Prototype - you produce a number of inexpensive, scaled down versions of the product or specific feature found within the product. Share the prototype within the team itself or people outside the design team.

Test - it is an iterative process. Use the results from testing and redefine problems and inform the understanding of the users, conditions of use, how people think about the product, etc. Alterations are important to rule out problem solutions and derive deep understanding of the product and its users.

In conclusion, ideation is not about coming up with the “right idea”. It is about generating the broadest range of possibilities.

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