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Get those Innovative Ideas Flowing: Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Ideation Workshop

Have you been put in charge of generating new ideas?  Thinking of hosting an ideation workshop but feel the pressure to make it creative and a good use of everyone’s time?

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Ideation Workshop:

Prime the Crowd for Creativity – get teams warmed up by having them participate in a creativity warm-up before you break into the core ideation.  Creativity warm-ups are typically short, fun exercises to get the juices flowing and shouldn’t take a lot of time.  One of the games that we like to play with our clients is Draw Toast from Tom Wujec and his TED talk.

Leverage Customer Insights  – use the voice of the customer in your workshop to serve as a starting point for ideation.  Help teams get into the customers’ shoes and empathize with the challenges they are trying to solve and the jobs that need to be done.  Use in-person ethnographies, digital ethnographies, and customer summits to capture customer insights and add a spark to internal ideation sessions.

Create an Artifact Galleryone way to get teams to understand the needs of customers is to develop an artifact gallery from the primary research you have conducted leading into the workshop.  As the starting point for the workshop, the artifact gallery is designed to help immerse teams in the customer’s world.  The gallery of research artifacts includes stats, pictures, quotes, key findings, video, ideas, etc.

Use Interactive Games & Exercisesgenerating new and different ideas requires you to get the team thinking outside the box and come at the challenge from different angles.  Interactive exercises and games are a great way to get the team thinking differently and keep them engaged.  Exercises require the teams to be up and moving around and collaborating which results in creative thinking but also fun.  Check out my colleague Sara’s blog post on a game we created called The Award – this is a game that can be used in a lot of different situations including ideation.  Be sure to download the free materials for your next session.

Prototype your Idea in the Workshoponce teams have identified innovative ideas that seem to have some merit, you can use part of your workshop to start prototyping and bringing the idea to life.  Prototyping can take on many different forms and does not have to involve a blow torch or hammer and nails – but you might need some glue and tape.  Coming up with a simple story board is a great way to start and can help you test the ideas with customers.

These are just a few of the tips and tricks that we use to ensure a successful Innovation Workshop.  For more ideas, check out our blog post series on Innovation Infusions to jump start your team’s ideation efforts.

If you want to chat more about ideation workshops, be sure to reach out!

Karie Starett

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