The creative process of ideation has been around since the late 1970s, though the name did not come about until the early 2000s. It has become a frequently used word that not everyone fully understands. In its simplest term, it is a brainstorming session. A session where any and all ideas are documented for further discussion. Some consider the term “charette” to be synonymous. Charetting is the actual finalizing of details. (“charette,” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/charette. Accessed 11/25/2020.)
Advisist looks at ideation as an artistic or creative process. We start with the story to be told or the experience to be created. That is the guidepost for the process. When first heard, most think the definition we use is related only to entertainment venues, which is not the case. Experience does not solely apply to going to an entertainment venue. There are experiences occurring all the time that we think of as normal and ordinary parts of life. Those are the some of the items to be considered.
During the COVID pandemic one of the shared experiences that has occurred is the use of online meeting tools. Some find the use of online tools as second nature; others were struggling. (Bradford has written pieces about this topic – Be the Helper Mr. Rogers Believes You Are. It is not the technology that is defining the success or failure of an online meeting service, it is the user’s experience. Basically, is it easy to use? This same process can easily be seen in the iPod/iPhone. MP3 compression had been around for years before the iPod was released. It was Apple creating a good and easy user experience that caused success.
The support of the desired experience is what we use to guide us in the ideation process. The output or work product produced by the process is defined by the needs our clients have. It could be that we study the experience of installing a new piece of equipment and how can it be made easier, resulting in a better experience. That process would likely result in suggestions for products or documentation with specific findings. Other times it could be studying creating a “wow” moment when someone walks into a building. That study would produce concepts and ideas for what can be done. It might not capture how it can be done, but the idea that it is possible would be confirmed.