Six do’s and don’ts for a successful UX ideation session

Running an ideation session is a crucial part of the UX process that can deliver invaluable insights, when it is being organised effectively. In this short article, Barbara will talk you through the do’s and don’ts when setting up your ideation session.

Six do’s and don’ts for a successful UX ideation session

First things first. Let’s align on a clear understanding of what we mean by an ideation session. As opposed to traditional brainstorming sessions, ideation challenges you to generate a broad set of ideas on a proposed topic. The topic can vary from a predefined problem statement to an exploratory product or feature. 

Running an ideation session is a crucial part of the UX process that can deliver invaluable insights, when it is being organised effectively. In this short article, we’ll talk you through the do’s and don’ts when setting up your ideation session.

Do's

1. Avoid any sort of judgement

A successful ideation welcomes the craziest, most bizarre ideas that can contribute to the given topic in any way. Before you start, you can choose to create a pact with your team that emphasises the objective of the session being idea generation, and that there is no place for comments or judgement.  

Tip! To kick off, try out an ideation technique called: ‘The Worst Idea’ possible. This fun ideation technique, not only sets the right tone, it also challenges your thinking on how to turn those bad ideas into great contributions. 

2. The more the merrier

There is no limit to the amount of ideas that can be contributed. Put it all out there! Avoid making any pre-determined rules that participants can write a maximum amount of ideas. Instead, when one member might be stuck, prepare a list of prompting questions that can give new perspectives.  

Tip! Think about questions like: ‘What would Walt Disney do?’ or choose ‘What would I do if I needed to fix this in one hour?’ for more problem-oriented ideation.  

3. Set the scene

An inspiring ideation session might have a hard time to flourishing between the four walls of your current home office. Try to establish an environment where people thrive in their creativity. If it is not possible to meet up in person, choose on an inspirational place individually.  

Tip! Ever arranged an outside Walk and Talk meeting? Vitamin D can do wonders for your perspective and creative thinking.   

Don'ts

1. Come unprepared

Although ideation sessions can be approached as freely as possible, it is good to manage expectations as we normally do with every meeting or workshop we plan. Ensure there is a clear set of objectives and outcomes defined from the beginning of the session. Also, manage the expectations of those invited to participate; a pre-determined and proper understanding of the problem beforehand, will lead to more qualitative input.  A pre-determined and proper understanding of the problem beforehand, will lead to more qualitative input.  

Tip! Share with the team how you’ve ended up with your problem statement or objective of the session. The journey itself can already spark thoughts and questions in the mind of team members that might not be as familiar with the process as you are.  

2. Welcome chaos

Although it is normal that ideation sessions can get a bit messy, it is great to set some sort of structure. One of the ways to go about this, is to decide beforehand on the ideation techniques that will be used. It will give your team the opportunity to prepare and can help to structure their messy thoughts into useful input.  

Tip! Ideation techniques such as ‘Crazy 8s’ or the ‘Six thinking hats’ are great techniques to follow during your ideation session.

3. Be afraid  

Remember that pact you made in the beginning? In ideation the assumption that there are no bad ideas should be the core of your session. Write it on a whiteboard as a contract or repeat it during your session when you feel someone is stuck. It can really give that extra nudge to a team member that might feel a little uncomfortable.  

Tip! Include some energisers throughout the session, whether that’s an active one like a ‘Scavenger hunt’ or a good old-fashioned round of ‘Fast Charades’. Ideation also needs to be fun right?

And now what? Download the e-book to start using these ideation tips and techniques immediately.

By Barbara from MadeFor.

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