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The 7-best ideation techniques. 


When planning an ideation session, facilitators want to use a variety of techniques to leverage the different personalities and expertise of the participants. The “Super Seven” ideation methods presented by Mattimore are easy to learn and teach to a group, customizable for different creative challenges, and different enough to appeal to diverse thinking styles:

1. Questioning assumptions.

Facilitators ask participants to list 20 to 30 assumptions that they might be making about the challenge, such as who the target market is and what the preferred price point is.Facilitators then select several of the assumptions and use them as triggers for new ideas.

2. Opportunity Redefinition.

Facilitators begin by presenting an opportunity statement or creative challenge. They then ask participants to pick three words from the statement and make a list of alternatives or expansions for each of the words. They then mix and match the results into statements that might spark more ideas. This technique helps the group move beyond the limitations of specific words by substituting new words.

3. Wishing.

 Facilitators begin by asking participants to make an impossible wish. After listing all the wishes aloud, participants select a few and use them as prompts to generate realistic ideas that could be brought to fruition.

4. Triggered brainwalking.

 Facilitators pair brainwalking with another technique, such as a visual prompt or wishing, to focus the ideas.

5. Semantic intuition.

This technique essentially creates a descriptor name for a new idea before the idea even exists. Participants generate lists of words in three categories related to the creative challenge, and then randomly combine them into phrases that can help generate ideas to solve the challenge. 6. Picture prompts.

 The facilitator passes out visuals that were selected in advance and asks participants to look at the images to see if they inspire any ideas. Most of the visuals should be related to the kind of challenge being addressed–food items when the challenge is to create a new snack product, for instance–but a few random visuals should be included in the mix as wild cards.

7.  Worst idea.

It seems odd to ask people for bad, silly, stupid, or possibly illegal ideas, but this exercise will wake up the room and generate some fun. Once the bad ideas have been listed, the group goes through the list to find ways to turn them into workable ideas by doing the opposite or making them positive somehow. You can write to me for more in-depth insights at

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