Previous experience in idea generation

March 14, 2019

By Cat Halthur

Previous experience from generating ideas in organisation:
I have worked mainly in organisations where ideas are expected to pop up naturally, and be generally discussed under ”miscellaneous” on the agenda of formal meetings, or simply raised during informal meetings, such as during lunch, or appraisal talks. However, I have taken part of formal idea generation meetings initiated by different (more or less) independent organisations, such as FORTE, Forum for Health policy, or RISE. These have commonly consisted of an introduction of a topic in the form of a lecture of some kind, after which we have sat in heterogenous groups and given pre-decided questions to discuss. It has usually ended with a full-group discussion. Sometimes the results of our discussions have ended up in a report to the government, or led to a conference or similar.
At a few occasions I have taken part of an activity with less talk initially. Usually we have had post-its. and moved these around. At one of these exercises we used a grid/divider, where we had to decide where to put each post-it/idea. This was really good, since that made us see areas where the ideas tended to cluster, as well as areas where the ideas were sparse.

Let me give you an example:

At a course in project management, we were asked to give our teacher ideas about how to solve his problem with living in one part of the world and working in another.
After half-an-hour he drew a grid, dividing the whiteboard between ”home” and ”work”. It turned out that most of our ideas were focused on ”home”, ie. moving in some way. When presented with the grid, we could see areas we hadn’t thought as much about, which triggered our idea generation further. After a while, he changed the grid to saying something less logical, such as ”Warm” – ”Cold”. We had to associate to this, and move our post-its/ideas accordingly, and when doing so, it triggered even more ideas. This also helped us narrow down which ideas that where worth ”saving” in the next step.

In the idea generation process for today I was ver much influenced by discussions I saw between friends of mine in social media. It’s a little ironic, isn’t it?
I saw a child psychologist writing a post about how she increases the self-image of her patients through discussions on critical thinking. I had some friends who discussed vaccines and anti-vaxxers, and had their scientific posts censured by a self-acclaimed ”doctor” spreading lies about vaccines.

What Im trying to say is that my associations was heavily influenced by the people in my ”societal bubble”, and had I not seen so many suggestions of solutions to these different problems, I would have been less steered towards a finite solution to the problem.

One response to “Previous experience in idea generation

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

    Interesting to read about the “ad-hoc” kind a way to generate ideas i.e. “ides should pop up naturally”. Do you think that a more systematic way of working with ideation would be a better way forward, based on your experiences?

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