Ideation (Brainstorming)

Do your students need help to effectively brainstorm? Perhaps they default to sharing out ideas in an unstructured, open discussion? If so, they would likely benefit from being explicitly taught some useful strategies for brainstorming (ideation). This will ensure students are aware that there are a variety of ideation strategies that they can choose from, depending on their team needs at a particular time.

Innovation Institute at Shanghai American School relies on ideation as part of the design thinking process for each interdisciplinary project. However, it is not always easy for adults – let alone 9th or 10th graders! – to come up with great ideas as a collaborative team. I’ve been doing some prep work with other instructional coaches at SAS in order to help guide some discussions around choosing specific ideation strategies to be a focus in the Innovation Institute program.

I was thrilled when an Institute colleague shared several great sites with me that she has used on occasion when ideation strategies were needed. The Interaction Design Foundation website, which is very useful, says that ideation is the heart of design thinking. That article, in addition to MindTools and this Wrike article, list numerous ideation strategies. I combined strategies (predominantly from these three sites) to make a useful overview that lists the what, why, when, and how of 17 ideation strategies. I would never share that many strategies with students, but I appreciate having so many strategies in one place in order to make easy decisions about which strategies are most appropriate to teach students at a specific time. The image below is of a document that summarizes some fantastic ideation techniques, predominantly from the sites mentioned above. As an instructional coach, it will also be helpful for me to refer to this overview if I need an ideation strategy for a meeting or workshop that I am facilitating.

Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 6.00.41 PM

Are there other useful sites for ideation strategies? Are there any great strategies that are missing from this overview that should be included?

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