New ideas

New Ideas

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
​​​​​​ ​ ​ ​
Do you want to generate new ideas?​

Sometimes we just do not know how to proceed. We feel blocked and there seems to be no way out. Or sometimes we just do not have any new ideas and feel empty and clueless. In such cases the selected tools below can help to refuel your imagination, to tap on the collective reservoir of ideas or to just look at the question from another perspective. 

​​​​
​​​​​​​ ​​

​​​​​​​​ Brainstorming

What?

Brainstorming makes it possible to quickly and with a minimum effort widen one’s horizon about available experiences, ideas and opinions. This method, good for application in groups and in workshops, consists of collecting uncommented ideas or suggestions.

When
to use?

It is used especially at the beginning of a meeting or workshop in order to gain an overview of the available experiences or ideas to be built upon.

How?

 

Possible from
10 mins - 30mins

 

Lager groups
min. 12 peoples

 

Depending on the variation: post-its, flipcharts, cards, markers, posters ...

 

  1. Introduce a brainstorming question both orally and in writing on chart paper. Set time limits.
  2. Invite participants to respond with as many ideas or suggestions as possible, ideally in concise words.
  3. Refuse any comment on participants' contributions. Emphasize that all ideas are equally valid.
  4. Record each response on cards or chart paper.
  5. Group same and related ideas in clusters. Ask "What is missing?"
  6. Prioritize and analyze the results. Make participants feel the value added of the brainstorming in a bigger context. Decide on further steps.

Why?

Brainstorming sessions are useful for solving problems, making product innovations, improving communication patterns, optimizing customer services, scheduling projects, budgeting, etc. Brainstorming taps into the combined creativity of all the participants.

​​​​​​​​ Building on one Another

Beispiel

What?

When a rock is dropped into water it creates waves. At the right angle and with enough speed, a stone can be skipped across a lake. These well-known images help us talk about new ideas in a constructive way. When a team member comes up with a new idea, our first reaction is often to express our doubts. We say: “Yes, but...”, which does not allow the idea to make waves or skip along. By saying “Yes, and…” we experiment with the idea and build on it. This is more encouraging and productive. A good way to visualize this is to write the initial idea in the centre of a sheet of paper. This is the rock that is dropped into water. The other team member then writes his or her “Yes, and…” addition to the idea in a circle surrounding the initial idea. This is the wave created by the rock. And so on.

When
to use?

This method can be used for brainstorming during breaks or in order to steer a meeting in a more productive direction.

How?

 

20-40 min

 

2 persons

 

Buildin on one another template and pen

Sit down with a team member. Have him or her write their idea in the centre of a piece of paper. For example: “We could sell groceries online and deliver them.” This is the rock that is dropped into water. Incorporate this idea and build on it. For example you might say: “Yes, and we should find a focus group.” Write this down in a circle surrounding the initial idea. This is the wave the rock created. Then it’s your partner’s turn again. He or she might say: “Our focus group could be families with small children or working singles who don’t have time to shop.” Have him or her write this down in a circle surrounding the other ideas. This is the wave spreading. Then you might add: “These focus groups might be interested in organic food. We could work with organic farms.” And so on. Let the idea grow.

Why?

This method focuses on encouraging and developing ideas, rather than getting stuck on barriers and doubts. The image of a rock creating waves in water, or of a skipping stone, is a helpful visualization. Working with these images and putting our thought process down on paper helps us build ideas together.

Want
to know
more?

This method can be found in the book: Creability by Eppler, Hoffmann and Pfister, 2014.

Find here the template for Building on one Another 

 

​​​​​​​​ Creativity Pad

Beispiel

What?

This exercise helps people tap into their creativity by providing a simple tool. It can be used daily and is designed for individual use. At the same time it reminds us to share and discuss our ideas with others. It consists of a series of questions that provoke creative thinking. Keep a copy of these questions handy so that you can go through them whenever you get stuck.

When
to use?

The questionnaire is designed for individual use but you can discuss it as well with your team or in a group during a meeting. It helps people use creative thinking in their everyday work. It also helps with concentration and changing perspectives.

How?

 

Possible from
10 mins - 40 mins

 

1-4 people

 

Template questionnaire
writing material

Keep a copy of the following questions nearby, for example on your desk. Work with them whenever you feel they might be helpful:

  1. What is the issue you are working on?
  2. How would one recognize when you have reached your goal?
  3. How could you make sure that you do not reach your goal?
  4. What is the positive inversion of the preceding answers?li>
  5. How have others reached their goals? Think about bionics, other industries, art etc.
  6. Who should hear about this idea and help with its development?

 

Why?

It’s important to bring creativity to the desk. This questionnaire reminds us to do so. Finally, don’t forget to share and discuss your ideas with others when you are done!

Want
to know
more?

This method can be found in the book: Creability by Eppler, Hoffmann and Pfister, 2014.

Find here the template for Creativity Pad

​​ ​​

​​​​​​​​ Reframing Matrix

Beispiel

What?

Sometimes you just do not advance with your task. A change in perspective might help. The reframing matrix helps you to analyze the problem from different perspectives.

When
to use?

You are looking for a new or different approach, you want to overcome a dead end in your work.

How?

 

20-60 min

 

Team, 2-6 persons

 

Reframing matrix, paper and pen

Work with the reframing-matrix. Define your problem and sketch four boxes for the four perspectives: perspective of the product, perspective of planning, perspective of potential and perspective of persons. Like this you analyze the problem from the perspective of four different stakeholder groups. Distribute tasks among the team or work together on the different perspectives. The complete picture with the different perspective might allow you to re-formulate your starting question.

Why?

By changing the perspective and looking at the problem from a different side, it can help to find new ways to approach it. The Reframing matrix provides a structured approach to develop the different perspectives.

Want
to know
more?

This method can be found in the book: Creability by Eppler, Hoffmann and Pfister, 2014.  

Find here the Reframing Matrix.

​​​​​​​​ Scamper

What?

Scamper stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, Reverse. Scamper helps teams come up with ideas when they are stuck in a rut. It is a checklist that prompts us to look at an issue from different points of view. The team goes through the checklist in a sort of structured brainstorm. This introduces a creative kick to the thought process.

When
to use?

Scamper works best for teams of three to six people, though it can easily be adjusted for larger groups of people. It is used whenever the thought process could benefit from a fresh way of looking at things.

How?

 

Possible from
30 mins - 1h

 

3 - 6 people

 

paper, writing material

SCAMPER stands for
  • Substitute – components, materials, personns
  • Combine – functions and services
  • Adapt – change functions, integrate other elements         
  • Modify – size, scale, appearance, attributes
  • Put to another use – redefine the range of application
  • Eliminate – reduce elements or components, reduce to core function, simplify as much as possible
  • Reverse – turn inside out or upside down, use in opposite way.

 

Questions related to the seven points might be, for example:

  • What could we use instead? Whom else could we include?
  • What elements could be combined? What goals could be combined?
  • What else could this apply to? What else could be applied? Have we made similar experiences in the past?
  • What could be changed, redefined, modernized?
  • How else could this be used? How could it be used if slight changes were made?
  • What could be eliminated? Would it do better without?
  • Would another pattern work? How could we regroup?

 

It is a good idea to think about whom you would like to include in the Scamper. It makes sense to have people with different functions or from different departments, in order to broaden the perspective. Then define what it is you want to have people focus on. Which product, solution or procedure do you want to develop or improve? Then follow the checklist. Brainstorm as many questions and answers as possible and write them all down. This is about generating ideas. Once you have completed the checklist and the brainstorming process you may evaluate what you have come up with.

Why?

This method combines interaction, tempo, creativity and structure. It is less chaotic than a regular brainstorm, but still allows ideas to flow freely. The results can be evaluated and altered after the Scamper. It is applicable to many different areas and produces unexpected solutions.

Want
to know
more?

This method can be found in the book: Creability by Eppler, Hoffmann and Pfister, 2014.

​​

​​​​​​​​ Wall of Ideas

Beispiel

What?

A Wall of Ideas can help teams share thoughts, collect ideas, or even talk about issues. A pinboard or posterboard is set up in a prominent spot. Colleagues are encouraged to put up pictures, quotes, comments and so on, that relate to a certain topic. The topic may be general, such as: “What inspires you this month?” or specific, such as: “How can we improve our meetings?”

When
to use?

Wall of Ideas are used in offices or other workplaces, at workshops or other events. It helps to discuss a topic that needs to be looked at from different angles or that needs new inputs.

The following questions will help you decide if a Wall of Ideas is appropriate for your purpose:

  • Do I want my colleagues to be involved in the process?
  • Is the question or problem understandable, relevant and interesting enough for my colleagues?
  • Am I sure that the topic is not too sensitive for a Wall of Ideas?
  • Will people in this work environment want to use such an informal medium?
  • Am I willing to set an example by using the Wall of Ideas?

How?

 

1h to create
some days for further remarks

 

1 person to
small groups

 

Post-its, pictures large
paper, writing material

Decide what the topic of your Wall of Ideas will be, how long you want to have it up, and where you want to set it up. Put in in a prominent spot and provide necessary materials, such as note cards and markers. Invite your colleagues to an informal “opening” of the Wall of Ideas and explain the concept to them. The following rules are helpful:

  1. No content that might insult colleagues belongs on the Wall of Ideas.
  2. Do not remove other people’s contributions to the Wall of Ideas, unless they interfere with rule 1. Moving contributions around or adding to them (see rule 3.) is ok.
  3. Additions of feedback or comments must be respectful and constructive.
  4. The initiator of the Wall of Ideas is the moderator and is responsible for “cleaning up” the board. It is important to keep the board up to date.

 

Informal meetings may be held in front of the Wall of Ideas. This gets people to talking about the content. Standing up during a meeting makes for a rejuvenating change. Or you may hold a “closing” of the Wall of Ideas before it is put away. Wall of Ideas have proved to be more effective when used for a shorter period of time. After a while, they seem to “disappear”. But it all depends on the culture of the workplace.

Why?

Wall of Ideas encourage people to think creatively. It is refreshing, particularly in today's world, to work with such a physical medium. It also discourages people from abandoning ideas too quickly. Whims and inspirations are shared and may in turn inspire the others.

Want
to know
more?

This method can be found in the book: Creability by Eppler, Hoffmann and Pfister, 2014.

​​
​​​​​​​​​​
​​