Studio A ideation sessions


The pdf of the slides can be downloaded here.


Text transcript

Hello studio A, it’s Sam from Meeum here. Quick video just to discuss the ideation phase that we’re all about to go into. I’ve met some of you before and have no doubt that I’ll meet many more of you over the next few weeks.

Both Elyse and I will be running these ideation sessions. So we just thought we’d put together a quick video to talk about how these might run.

Now, basically, to have a good idea, we’ve first got to come up with lots of ideas first, and some of those first ideas may not seem that great, but they can build on to being something fabulous.

Now you may have seen this. This came from the info pack from Little Owl, which basically is an introduction to the Double Diamond, which some of you might be familiar with, where we go through this idea of understanding something, then defining the problem, what are we actually trying to solve? And then we explore solutions to that, when we go through to execution and actually creating the solution.

A slightly different way of looking at the Double Diamond is this. Now we’ve done a whole lot of research and empathy all the way through with the tracker of finding out, talking to different people, getting some qualitative and quantitative responses through that tracker, to then go through and pull some of the themes out, which are really common themes that have come through, and that’s that Define stage of the second part of that first diamond.

And now there’s, a problem to be solved or some problems to be solved and to look at. And that’s where we go into ideation. You can see there in that second diamond, where we start to build on a whole lot of different ideas and we’re thinking big again. There are no limitations in ideation.

Prototyping, which is also part of this. To an extent, prototyping isn’t getting out machinery and making things. It is literally drawing sketches on pieces of paper. It is writing out the things. It’s the tangibility of the ideas.

And that’s what we’ll talk about just towards the end of this video around things like mind mapping and so forth. So there’s a whole lot of things that we can do here.

So let’s talk about what ideation is. It’s the process of developing creative solutions. We’re using time as an accelerator.

It’s not the kind of thing that we’re going to dwell on for weeks and weeks and weeks. Each session is going to have a finite amount of time to be able to go through and come up with as many solutions as we possibly can.

It’s the strength of developing ideas in a group. You can’t do an ideation session by yourself. It’s just not going to work. You need to have the influence of a whole lot of different people from a whole lot of different backgrounds.

It’s about working together, collaboratively and also constructively. And the whole point of it is to increase the quality, the variety and the novelty of ideas as well as the quantity.

So why do it? Basically, as we all know, complex business challenges, we require new solutions. We want to get away from this mindset of “we’ve always done it this way, so, therefore, that’s what we’re going to do it and that’s the way we’re going to do it now”.

We need to get away from that. So we need to come up with new, innovative ideas and get out of our comfort zone to some extent. So we need to start off with an abundance of ideas to be able to do that.

And some of them may well be wild ideas that may not actually seem possible at the time, and that’s fine. So the idea of generating new ideas isn’t easy, particularly on your own. Hence, why we do this collaboratively in groups. It’s a fantastic method for generating ideas. When we’re talking about brainstorming here in the context of ideation.

If time is an issue which it always is, with coming up with new solutions, it can be daunting doing that, as I’m sure all of you are aware of, of trying to solve a problem in a short time period can be difficult. Hence, again, why this is a collaborative effort. This is where brainstorming comes into things. So as far as it goes and how these things should run, we’re using the collective minds of a group in order to develop a variety of ideas.

And it’s really important as part of this that you don’t just use the people in the particular team that we’re brainstorming for. Cross functionality in a highly collaborative setting really, really works well. You never know the background that someone may have in a department that they don’t work in at Studio A. They might be able to come at it with a totally fresh idea, a completely different insight that you may not have considered being that you are in that department.

So it’s important where possible to get a bit of cross-pollination going on there. And also we don’t need to overthink. We’re just simply getting ideas down. We’re putting them into a Google Doc, and we’ll distil them later. But at the moment, it’s just about getting our ideas down and we’re not overthinking anything – we’re just moving on.

It’s quick, it’s creative and collaborative. So the idea of it, we want to produce a large number of ideas and each session, if it can, we want to generate the ideas quickly. We want to expand our portfolio of alternatives. We might find that an idea comes up and it bubbles to the top and it’s like, yeah, this can really work.

But then down the track, you might find, actually, there’s a bit of a problem with this. Or maybe it’s not working the way we expected it to. We can always go back to the brainstorming sessions that we’ve had and be able to go – maybe actually, if we combine that idea with this other thing that we came up with then or even change it entirely.

It helps get people unstuck as well. And again, the idea of getting insights from a broader group of people that may not be involved in that particular area of the organisation.

And it helps build enthusiasm and also solves tricky problems and build teamwork and collaboration amongst the whole team.

A key tool with this is laddering or piggybacking, where someone might come up with a cool idea, someone adds to it, someone else has to it. And then you’ve got this whole ball rolling. The snowball effect, I guess you could call it where one initial idea could stimulate a bunch of others.

During that, all ideas are recorded. So anyone that comes up with an idea – we’re absolutely writing it down and recording it.

No idea is disregarded.

Absolutely no idea is ever criticised either.

After a list of ideas has been generated, then we can go back later and look at which ones might fly, what might need some adjustment, which ones maybe we can’t do just due to time, budget or anything else. But for the moment, we are recording absolutely everything.

So seven important rules of brainstorming here. You can see they’re important, by the way, that I’ve changed the animation, there.

Defer judgement. Again, there’s no sort of going “I don’t reckon that will work”. Okay, put it down.

Encourage wild ideas. Some of the best ideas have come from ideation sessions where the wildest of ideas have actually turned out to be the solution.

Build on the ideas of others. Like we were saying before, with piggybacking laddering, that sort of thing.

We want to stay focused on the topic. It might be easy to sort of talk about what’s the best way to get from Melbourne to Sydney as an example. But we need to stay focused on the topic, to be able to go call how we’re doing that as opposed to sort of going, oh, if we drive, we could go through the Dubbo Zoo and that’d be coolo. And then we start of in this big conversation about how cools Zoos are. And it’s like we’ve totally lost track of the topic. So we need to stay focused on the topic.

One conversation at a time. So one person has the floor to be able to go “cool, I’ve got this idea, boom boom boom – throw it into the Google Doc.

Be visual. This is the tangibility. This is where the prototyping side of things comes in is to make these things work. You have to be visual. Keeping things in your brain means nothing because unless you can get that idea out and make it visual, it means that other people can understand it.

If people don’t understand what you’ve actually put up there, you can then explain it, if someone does need some clarification. If we were all in the same room together, we’d probably use something like sticky notes onto some butchers paper to be able to get this stuff across where it’s fully visual. For this, we’re going to use a Google Doc and some other things.

And we’re going for quantity as well.

And don’t hold back if you are in an ideation session and you’ve got an idea, but you’re thinking I’m not sure if that’s very good or not.

Write it in because it’s probably a great idea.

So we’ll set up a shared Google Doc for each session so that everybody can participate.

After that – after the ideation phase, those ideas can be distilled into mind maps as well as high-level planning docs. So you may have seen mind mapping before – the idea where we can get some of those things.

See which ideas are bubbling to the top, see where there are relationships going between some of those ideas and how they might be useful.

And also you would have seen this in the pack from Little Owl as well. For each section after the ideation sessions of trying to work out targets within that. So that’s less from the “idea” perspective of “what” but going into some of that target sort of thing – on what we need to achieve over a period of time.

That’s it about ideation.

Do let us know if you want any more info about that. Looking forward to seeing you all in the sessions over the coming weeks.

Thank you very much. And looking forward to seeing you soon.