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methodical product design - Ideation Methods

Hey there! Next step in Methodical Product journey: Ideation.  Ideation is the second part of Discove
methodical product design - Ideation Methods
By Akar Sumset • Issue #6 • View online
Hey there! Next step in Methodical Product journey: Ideation
Ideation is the second part of Discovery step in 5 D’s of Product Design and Development. Ideation is mostly taken for granted but actually the whole purpose of Discovery is to find (and validate) ideas. Again, I have lots of methods and resources to share with you. So, let’s get going.

If you’re really enjoying Methodical Product Design share this newsletter and help others find out. I’d appreciate it.💗

5 D's of Product Design and Development
5 D’s of Product Design and Development is a framework to design and develop great products. It covers the 5 main stages of product design and development:

  1. Destination: Vision, Strategy, Roadmap
  2. Discovery: Inspiration, Ideation, Testing
  3. Definition & Design
  4. Development
  5. Data and Optimization
Discovery (Recap)
Let’s, first remember what Discovery was about. Discovery has three major parts.

  1. Inspiration: Learn as much as possible as fast as possible.
  2. Ideation: Generate as many ideas as possible as fast as possible.
  3. Testing: Iterate as much as possible as fast as possible.

The main purpose is to make sure that we are going to be Defining & Designing the right thing. Discovery ensures (as much as possible) we’re working on the right thing because it;
  • Provides us with a 360 view on the problem
  • Helps us consider as many solution alternatives as possible
  • Enables us to remove biases through collaboration and testing
Is that what Jared Spool calls "Executive Swoop and Poop"?
Is that what Jared Spool calls "Executive Swoop and Poop"?
Why Ideation Matters
There are lots of good teams producing mediocre products. They have talented, knowledgeable, smart people but still end up with mediocrity. Why? One of the main reasons I see is that hey don’t have any good ideas in the first place. Actually, if only, we, the creative product people, were given enough time to think we’d generate the best ideas, right? Wrong!

Creativity is Something We Do, Not Something We Possess by Nature
There is no doubt we take idea generation for granted. We all know that “let’s have a brainstorming session” doesn’t work but still hesitate going beyond that. We need structure to be creative. Yeah, that sounds like an oxymoron but I urge you to remember the last time you brainstormed without any clear structure. Did you, too, feel like a “moron” 😕 like I did? So, in order not to waste all that precious Inspiration effort, we better have some structure. It’s not difficult to facilitate creativity if we rely on methods but otherwise it’s really difficult. Because there is a lot of misconception about creativity which turned it into a myth. James Clear has a very good summary here which I believe capture the essence very well.

Hidden Benefits of Ideation
Ideation shouldn’t be kept reserved to only product people. That’s against the idea of Ideation. We need diversity (given the participants have a level of attachment to the case at hand and willingness to participate in Ideation) in order to gain several perspectives at once and get more dots to connect.
When done as a team, Ideation strengthens team bonds. Since it is a fun thing to do and happens in a collaborative and constructive manner, colleagues develop much more positive perspectives on each other.
On an individual level, Ideation increases self confidence and motivation because we get to be creative and autonomous during the whole process.
And finally, having a chance to voice their ideas and see which ideas gets chosen why help them internalize the final decisions much better.

Ideation in A Nutshell
  1. Make Inspiration Data Usable
  2. Generate Ideas
  3. Prioritize Ideas
Make Inspiration Data Usable
From Research to Design with Pen & Paper
Communicating User Research Findings
How to Turn User Research into Usable Data
Generate Ideas
7 Rules of Ideation
Ideation Methods
Using Brainwriting For Rapid Idea Generation – Smashing Magazine

Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko
Prioritize Ideas
Product Strategy Means Saying No
The Simple Rule for Feature Prioritization
What is a Good Product Idea?
How to Pick Winning Product Features
20 Product Prioritization Techniques: A Map and Guided Tour
RICE: Simple prioritization for product managers
Ideation is one of my favorite parts of product design. It is the part which least feels like work because it’s a lot of fun. However, successful product design and development requires more than good ideas and that’s what Methodical Product Design newsletters is all about. So, stay tuned!

If you’re really enjoying Methodical Product Design share this newsletter and help others find out. I’d appreciate it.💗

Akar - Continuously brainstorming
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Akar Sumset

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