Module 2 Idea Generation

March 13, 2019

By Hayley McLaughlin

In a customer-facing role whereby daily discussions with users regarding new ideas, enhancement wishes & general feedback are always initiated, it has been difficult & at times demotivating working in company where moving these ideas into a service or product has often become a test of endurance. Nonetheless, what is most motivational & inspirational is receiving this feedback, listening & also simply observing the workings of the complex healthcare environment.

In my field of work, customers or “ordinary users” consistently hold the key to new user-intuitive, incremental type ideas. The more radical, disruptive type ideas/innovations are often developed in-house, but importantly, the value of these disruptive ideas/innovations are almost tested immediately with key opinion leaders or as the literature describes, “lead users”. Often, working or testing with these lead users over time, whereby their technical understanding develops makes them even more valuable.

While we have an entire team within our organization devoted to Design Thinking, idea generation regarding product development has not evolved to lean methods until the last 5 years & even more recently for my field. What is a great solution in our organization is our innovation portal, where innovators & idea generators internally & externally can submit ideas & which are moderated by segment specific product managers.

The theme chosen for our challenge reflects a need & problem that affects all of us & is one that requires a good & workable, wanted solution. My idea generation involved speaking with friends, family, colleagues & even my own post on social media asking for ideas as well as how people overcame the problem today. I found variable responses between demographics. What surprised me most was that most respondents were not hopeful for a viable solution although all agreed it was a problem worth solving. I tried to get a good understanding of what solutions already existed & why they did or didn’t work before coming up with my own paper & pen quiz prototype to test with.