Project Description

Project Description


Ideation — a.k.a. brainstorming — can come at any point in the design process, though we usually think of it as kicking off a project. 

What it is.

Ideation is a way of coming up with a lot of ideas in a short amount of time. There is no one way to do it, though there are a lot of great activities that help product teams find design solutions.

How it’s used.

We use ideation as a way to get over blocks to new ideas. The goal of brainstorming is to open your mind to all kinds of possible solutions to a design problem that unconscious biases and rigid thinking (something we’re all guilty of) might prevent us from seeing.


You can use brainstorming techniques at any time in the design process. I like to use them when the product team is blocked and we’re unable to get past a creative or business loggerhead.

Getting the whole team together (not just the designers) and urging everyone to put aside judgement and throw ideas onto a whiteboard can really shake things up.

Collaborative design takes the responsibility (and burden) for creative ideas off the designer and opens the whole team up to input. Once teams get past their initial fear of sharing ideas, it can be incredibly energizing and exciting as ideas flow.

Design collaboration and brainstorming can bring to your team:

  1. A better understanding of the context, opportunities, and constraints of the problem.
  2. Ideas from different perspectives mix and mingle and create new ideas.
  3. Expressing assumptions otherwise not acknowledged or understood, to evaluate and possibly revise them.
  4. Share ownership of the project and the product. Eliminate competition and fiefdoms in the product team.
  5. Generate a lot of ideas as fast as possible–in just a few hours.
  6. Allow open and honest critique in a safe creative space.
  7. Allow pitching and explanations to defend an idea without becoming defensive.

Three of my favorite methods for idea generation:


  • Get an overview of a few ideation methods.

  • Learn one method.

  • Practice generating ideas with the method.

Tips & Tricks

  • There are no right and wrong methods; pick one that your team likes.
  • Play. The more fun this is, the more likely you’ll come up with great ideas!
  • Keep focused. Beware of ideation sessions that turn into a free-for-all.
  • State your problem, keep your ideas focused on that problem.


Your Assignment

Use one of the ideation methods to solve a design problem.

State a problem, then with a group of people (they do not need to all be designers–in fact, better if they’re not) use one of the ideation methods above to come up with creative solutions to that problem.

  • Decide in advance which method you’re going to use.
  • Make sure everyone in the group understands the method.
  • You might want to dub one member the MC to keep things moving along.
  • Write down the problem your trying to solve before you start, and keep coming back to that.


Take pictures, a video or document your process in another way and share it in the comments and/or on Dribbble and Twitter #100daysdesign.