Ideation (creative process)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Ideation (idea generation))

Ideation is the creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas, where an idea is understood as a basic element of thought that can be either visual, concrete, or abstract.[1] Ideation comprises all stages of a thought cycle, from innovation, to development, to actualization.[2] Ideation can be conducted by individuals, organizations, or crowds. As such, it is an essential part of the design process, both in education and practice.[3][4]


The word "ideation" has come under informal criticism as being a term of meaningless jargon,[5] as well as being inappropriately similar to the psychiatric term for suicidal ideation.[6]

Methods and approaches[edit]

There are many methods and approaches for ideation. A list of common ideation techniques is as follows:

  • Brainstorming: A technique where the basic premise is to get a group together and have them share their ideas freely, without judgement.[citation needed] The goal is to generate as many ideas as possible, regardless of whether they are good or bad. Once the brainstorming session is over, the group can evaluate the ideas and narrow them down to the best ones.
  • Idea mapping: This process begins with brainstorming a central idea and then developing said idea by adding related concepts and details. The result is a map or diagram that visually captures the relationships between ideas. This technique can be used individually and in groups, and it is an effective way to generate a large volume of ideas quickly. Idea mapping is often used in business, engineering, and design, where creativity is essential for success.
  • SCAMPER: SCAMPER is an acronym for the seven different aspects of ideation around which this idea revolves: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to other uses, Eliminate, and Reverse. By considering each of these elements, in turn, it is possible to develop new ways to approach a problem or challenge and obtain a wide range of ideas suitable for further development.
  • The 5 Whys technique: The 5 Whys technique is a simple yet powerful tool for driving to the root cause of a problem. The basis of the technique is to ask "why" five times to identify the primary causal factor behind a particular issue. It is suitable for a range of problem complexities and is often used in conjunction with other root cause analysis tools, such as fishbone diagrams and cause-and-effect tables. Although it may seem simplistic, the 5 Whys can be an invaluable tool for uncovering hidden problems and generating new ideas.
  • Pugh matrix
  • Morphological analysis
  • 6 thinking hats
  • The method of loci: The method of loci is a strategy for memorizing new information. It is a mnemonic device that involves the visualization of placing pieces of information around a room and then visualizing yourself "picking the information up". This method is known as memory palace. The word loci is the plural of "locus", which means location.
  • Bodystorming: Bodystorming is a creative process that involves using the body to simulate various actions and explore different solutions to a problem. The term was coined by Gijs van Wulfen, who developed the process as a way to overcome the limits of traditional brainstorming. With bodystorming, participants are encouraged to physically act out possible solutions to a problem, allowing for a more immersive and realistic exploration of potential solutions. The process can be used alone or in groups, and is often used in conjunction with other ideation techniques such as role-playing and mind mapping. Bodystorming is an effective way to generate new ideas, and has been used in a variety of fields including product design, architecture, and marketing.[citation needed]
  • Brainwriting

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jonson, 2005, page 613
  2. ^ Graham and Bachmann, 2004, p. 54
  3. ^ "How Generative AI Can Augment Human Creativity". Harvard Business Review. 16 June 2023. ISSN 0017-8012. Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  4. ^ Broadbent, in Fowles, 1979, page 15
  5. ^ Berkun, Scott (7 August 2008). "Why Jargon Feeds on Lazy Minds". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  6. ^ Thomson, Stephanie (14 June 2015). "Annoying Tech Jargon to Remove From Your Vocabulary-The Muse". The Muse. Retrieved 16 March 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • Michalko, Michael (2006) "Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques Paperback" ISBN 978-1580087735
  • Jonson, B (2005) "Design Ideation: the conceptual sketch in the digital age". Design Studies Vol 26 No 6 pp 613–624. doi:10.1016/j.destud.2005.03.001
  • Graham, D and Bachmann, T., (2004) Ideation: The Birth and Death of Ideas. John Wiley and Sons Inc. ISBN 978-0471479444
  • Fowles, R A (1979) "Design Methods in UK Schools of Architecture". Design Studies, Vol 1 No 1 pp 15–16 doi:10.1016/0142-694X(79)90022-X