Part 2 – Ideation phase

The second in a 3-part series that’s a crash course in Design Thinking that will teach you all the important parts of this methodology that I learned while becoming an IDEO certified Design Thinking Trainer. In this episode, I will teach you how to take the insights you found through your research in the inspiration phase and start to brainstorm ideas by learning how to craft ‘How might we’ statements and the 7 rules for running a better brainstorm.

Listen now:

Show Notes:

Ideation will be made up of two parts – framing the opportunity and ideation.


– The challenge for most creatives is how do we get from insights to ideation. This can be a challenge as this translation often happens through the creative brief but those briefs don’t really give you much to brainstorm against.
– In Design Thinking we do this through ‘How Might We’ statements which are short questions you can use to launch brainstorms.
– By framing your challenge as a How Might We statement, you’ll set yourself up for an innovative solution.
– Lets look at what How Might We actually means.
– How – assume a solutions exists
– Might – means that the process is free of judgement
– We – means that we will come up with the solutions together
– In all honesty I think that crafting great HMW statement are one of the hardest things to do in the entire process.
– They need to be broad enough that there are a wide range of solutions but narrow enough that the team has some helpful boundaries.
– Challenge: Redesign the ground experience at the local international airport and more specifically, how do you  entertain playful children who might irritate already frustrated fellow passengers.

Amp up the good: HMW use the kids’ energy to entertain fellow passenger?
Remove the bad: HMW separate the kids from fellow passengers?
Explore the opposite: HMW make the wait the most exciting part of the trip?
Question an assumption: HMW entirely remove the wait time at the airport?
Go after adjectives: HMW we make the rush refreshing instead of harrying?
ID unexpected resources: HMW leverage free time of fellow passengers to share the load?
Create an analogy from need or context: HMW make the airport like a spa? Like a playground?
Play POV against the challenge: HMW make the airport a place that kids want to go?
Change a status quo: HMW make playful, loud kids less annoying?
Break POV into pieces: HMW entertain kids? HMW slow a mom down?

– When you can easily think of at least 3 ideas – you have a good HMW.
– The best way to get better at this is going to be to craft HMW statements and then run a brainstorm to see how they perform.


– Ideate is when we take the How Might We’s and try to create as many ides as possible through a brainstorm.
– But how do you run an effective brainstorm?

Seven rules to stay focused on generation, not judgement.
– Defer Judgement
– Encourage Wild Ideas
– Build On The Ideas Of Others
– Stay On Topic
– One Conversation At A Time
– Be Visual
– Go For Quantity

– You have to be the one who drives the brainstorm.
– You keep it to the rules, you keep the energy up and you keep it moving forward.
– But you also have to keep encouraging wild ideas.

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