Ideation: 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
The definition above, from Wikipedia, accurately describes the process of ideation, which is my team’s current undertaking. This process is where my mind always jumped, as it is only natural to think of solutions when defining the problem, as we did with the HMW statements. Although it is not a thought process I would predict, it seemed as though some of my HMW statements resulted from a solutions I had. I think this sort of jumping around in one’s thoughts could potentially cause me to miss out on ideas that I came up with utilizing the Living Principals process-based analysis.
At the beginning of class, we posted our selected HWM statement, “HMW change J.Crew’s offering to include better quality, more sustainable products,” and then began the brainstorming process. I had never before done brainstorming that sufficiently captured the highlights of individual and group brainstorming as effectively as the process we used. We individually came up with solution statements, but said them out loud while posting them for all to see. Questions and comments were permitted, but the individual part of this process was dominant.
Next, we were encouraged to come up with ideas that were absurd, ideas which could even get us fired by the company. We’d already created a few of these, such as the minimalist clothing idea and encouraging consumers to forget fashion and buy just the clothes they needed for basic utility. Admittedly, I was the one guilty of putting the most ‘bad’ ideas in with the good. We also came up with a few analogous product ideas. Next, we thought of a way to flip our off the wall ideas into something that would potentially work for the company and solve the HMW statement. This pushed my team to come up with ideas we would not have otherwise, like the rental program. Then, we sorted the ideas we came up with on a spectrum of weak to strong. Our process manager orchestrated voting, until we narrowed it down to one idea.
By first encouraging quantity of ideas and them evaluating for quality, we broadened the scope of our ides significantly. This stage was a perfect example of the value of holding judgement when presented with an idea that is initially unappealing. I learned this lesson the hard way time after time, but something new I should incorporate in ideation processes is flipping the idea to what I would consider a positive. Even if dissent still existed, this would be a way for me to open my mind and encourage an environment of building onto ideas to discover the best of ideas.