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How Ideation Strategies Empower Businesses

Empower your business with game‑changing ideation strategies. Learn how to fuel creativity and drive success in today's competitive market.

Generating and selecting the best, most innovative ideas is the driving force behind business success. All organizations have "ideas people." These individuals consistently come up with ideas, but not all are fully thought out or developed.

Ideas float around businesses every day, but without an effective process in place, those ideas remain unexplored or lost in the sea of day-to-day operations.

An effective ideation strategy can give businesses the structure they need to generate and develop new ideas into business strategies and growth opportunities. Keep reading to learn more about this creative process and how ideation can help your business grow.

What is ideation?

Ideation refers to the process of generating, organizing, developing, and refining ideas with the goal of creating innovative solutions, products, services, and policies. Many businesses don't actually struggle with the ability to generate ideas; they struggle with the ability to follow through on those ideas. Ideation provides a framework that explores new ideas, improves idea generation, and determines action plans to make ideas a reality.

These ideas can relate to a wide variety of business aspects, such as product innovation, business model improvement, marketing strategy, process improvement, organizational structures, and much more; ideation can be used for anything, whether you have ideas or need to generate new ideas to solve a problem.

The ideation process

The ideation process uses various techniques, such as brainstorming ideas, prototyping, and collaboration, to generate and capture ideas. The process may vary from company to company and doesn't always follow a linear path. However, the process generally begins with idea generation and leads to concept development and implementation.

Here's an outline of how an ideation strategy might work in your business:

Idea generation

The first ideation stage is idea generation, in which new ideas are formed. Participants can brainstorm and think freely, proposing as many ideas as possible. The idea generation step can involve various techniques, such as brainstorming ideation sessions, mind mapping, SWOT analysis, and design thinking to stimulate creativity.

Idea screening

After ideas are generated, they're evaluated and filtered or categorized. Businesses can determine their own set of criteria like the idea's impact, feasibility, and alignment with business goals. The idea screening stage should be a discussion among key stakeholders, allowing everyone to share their thoughts.

Concept development

Idea screening should prioritize your ideas, allowing you to determine which ones to develop. Once an idea is chosen, businesses can create a more concrete plan, which may involve prototyping new products, developing strategies for business ideas, and outlining the potential implementations for process improvements.


After the concept is developed, businesses enter the testing phase, which consists of gathering data and feedback about the idea's viability in a real-world scenario. Businesses can test a prototype's functionality, usability, and effectiveness to validate and refine concepts with users and provide proof of concept to stakeholders.

Ideation testing strategies include surveys, user testing, focus groups, and pilot programs to provide feedback that informs refinements to ensure the final solution meets expectations, increasing the concept's success.


Testing provides data you can use to refine the concept, turning it into a practical solution or product. If testing succeeds, the idea is finally implemented with a strategic plan. This process may involve launching a new product, implementing a new business strategy, or applying new processes in the organization.

It also involves a strategy for implementing these changes. For instance, you might use a product launch checklist for a new product entering the market. On the other hand, you might implement new processes with employee training.

Why is ideation important for your business?

Ideation drives innovation in business while fueling growth. Engaging in an ideation strategy can help you generate, develop, and implement new ideas to identify growth opportunities. The benefits of ideation strategies include the following:


Ideation drives innovation by encouraging new idea generation at every level of the business. By exploring new ideas, businesses can develop better products, services, and processes that provide competitive advantages and drive overall growth.


With a structured process to identify challenges, businesses can use ideation to improve problem-solving processes. The collaborative nature of ideation allows businesses to consider multiple perspectives and explore alternative approaches other key stakeholders might have yet to consider.

Employee engagement

Employees feel valued and involved when they are part of the ideation process. Brainstorming allows them to contribute their insights while fostering a better company culture since they're included as part of a process that improves the business. This level of engagement can boost morale and support overall job satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction

Ideation strategies force businesses to think from the customer's point of view to create products that meet their needs and address pain points. You can also involve customers in the ideation process through user testing and surveys to get thoughtful feedback that allows you to develop better solutions.

Market differentiation

Unique ideas can make a business stand out from its competitors. Exploring new and innovative ideas allows businesses to develop better products with market differentiation that attracts customers and providers a competitive advantage.

Risk management

Ideation can anticipate future challenges within the business by allowing stakeholders to contribute their ideas about potential risks. For instance, a manufacturing business might identify a dependency on a single supplier as a risk and decide to diversify its supply chain.

On the other hand, other participants in brainstorming sessions might identify industry disruptions. Since ideation is collaborative, you can get unique perspectives on the different types of risk within your company and find ways to mitigate them.

Ideation techniques

There are several ideation techniques you can use to generate ideas and prove their feasibility and effectiveness. Some of the most popular techniques businesses use include the following:

Brainstorming sessions

Companies can use brainstorming sessions to generate many ideas at once, encouraging employees, managers, and key stakeholders to share their thoughts and think more creatively.

Mind mapping

Mind mapping is a visual technique that organizes ideas and maps their relationships to one another. For instance, if you're using mind mapping to generate and organize ideas for targeting different customer segments better, your map might consist of ideas like the use of tags and customer profiles and market research insights branching out from customer segments.

SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis identifies a business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and provides a more structured approach to idea generation. By evaluating these factors, businesses can identify potential advantages, risks, and areas for improvement during the ideation process.


Substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to another use, eliminate, and reverse (SCAMPER), is a technique that asks participants to consider different ways to enhance their existing ideas to unlock new growth opportunities.

Rapid ideation

Rapid ideation allows you to generate as many new ideas as possible quickly, encouraging participants to think on their feet and generate ideas without overthinking them. During rapid ideation, businesses generate more ideas, but these ideas are typically lower in quality because the goal is to explore a wide range of possibilities.

Worst possible idea

The worst possible idea technique encourages participants to generate bad ideas, allowing them to think more creatively. This technique can help unlock new ideas, no matter how outrageous or unconventional, often leading to unexpected insights and alternative solutions.

Ideation tools

Businesses can use ideation tools as valuable resources to facilitate the ideation process. Digital platforms provide techniques and collaborative features that can improve brainstorming, testing, and prototyping. A few examples include:

Mind mapping tools

Mind mapping tools like MindMeister, XMind, and Coggle can be used to visually organize and link thoughts and ideas to stimulate creative thinking and make connections between concepts. These looks allow users to create interactive mind maps to structure and link ideas and provide templates with the ability to collaborate in real-time.

Collaboration tools

Collaboration tools like Miro/Figma offer digital whiteboards for real-time collaboration, allowing teams to brainstorm, create sticky notes, draw, and more.

These tools foster team engagement and creativity while enabling remote teams to collaborate seamlessly and enhance the ideation process.

Survey tools

Survey tools like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, and Typeform allow you to gather feedback from customers, employees, and other key stakeholders. These tools offer a convenient way to ask targeted questions for user testing and feedback to uncover areas for improvement.

Design thinking tools

Software InVision, Adobe XD, and Sketch can improve the design thinking process and help with prototyping and product testing to determine feasibility and gather user feedback. These tools can simulate user experiences and allow you to conduct usability testing to identify potential issues and refine concepts.

Ideation session best practices

Ideation sessions allow stakeholders to collaborate while encouraging the free flow of ideas to generate fresh perspectives. Following these best practices can help you encourage participation and maximize the value of each session:

Encourage open-mindedness

Your brainstorming session should encourage the free flow of ideas, which can only be done if everyone keeps an open mind. Encourage participants to embrace all ideas, no matter how unconventional. Creating a space where everyone feels comfortable can lead to more creative ideas.

Diversify your team

Invite participants from different departments and levels of the organization or customers and external collaborators to help you produce more innovative solutions. Including diverse perspectives in your ideation sessions can promote more innovative thinking.

Make use of structured techniques

Freeform brainstorming can be valuable, but structured ideation can yield creative results. Techniques like mind mapping and SCAMPER can help guide you through the ideation process to stimulate more creative thinking.

Break up longer sessions

Keeping ideation sessions short can lead to better outcomes. Breaking up longer sessions into more focused sessions can help maintain engagement, allowing participants to come back with fresh ideas.

Document everything

Documenting ideas and discussions during an ideation session can help you capture all ideas generated. You can use collaboration tools or take notes during the session to keep track of all the ideas, no matter how out of the box.

Follow-up post session

After sorting and evaluating the ideas, provide feedback to the participants about the next steps. For instance, you might want to hold another ideation session or begin developing the ideas. Providing participants with the session's outcome can make them feel like their opinions are valued.

Uncover opportunities with a successful ideation session

An effective ideation strategy can help you tap into ideas and turn them into products, services, policies, and practices that drive innovation and give your business a competitive edge.

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