Design Thinking: Ideate
Ideate is the second step in the design thinking process. It is all about generating a wide range of ideas and possibilities for how to solve the problem or challenge that was identified in the Understand step. It involves brainstorming, sketching, and thinking creatively. Ideating is not about evaluating ideas or choosing a solution, but rather about generating as many ideas as possible to build a rich pool of potential solutions.
Without a wide range of ideas, it’s difficult to find the best solution to a problem. By generating a large number of ideas, you can explore different approaches and possibilities, and you can push beyond the obvious or easy solutions to find something truly innovative and impactful.
Real World Example — Designing a Playground with Students
Let’s continue with the example of students designing a new playground for their school. In the Ideate step, students would generate as many ideas as possible for what the playground could look like or include. They might sketch different designs or use materials like clay or building blocks to create prototypes. The goal is to be as creative and open-minded as possible, without worrying about whether the ideas are feasible or practical.
Tips for Working with Students
- Encourage quantity over quality: In the Ideate step, it’s important to generate as many ideas as possible, without worrying about whether they are good or bad. Encourage your students to focus on quantity over quality, and to generate as many ideas as they can.
- Use a variety of ideation techniques: Brainstorming is a classic ideation technique, but there are many others to choose from, including mind mapping, random word generation, and even improv exercises. Encourage your students to try a variety of techniques to find what works best for them.
- Emphasize collaboration: Ideation is often most effective when done in groups, as different perspectives and experiences can lead to more diverse and innovative ideas. Encourage your students to work together in pairs or small groups to generate ideas.
Check Your Understanding
- What is the Ideate step in the design thinking process?
a. Generating a wide range of ideas and possibilities
b. Evaluating ideas and choosing a solution
c. Building a foundation of knowledge and empathy
- Why is the Ideate step essential to design thinking?
a. It helps you find the best solution to a problem
b. It’s the easiest step
c. It involves brainstorming and thinking creatively
- How might a K-5 student use the Ideate step in designing a new playground?
a. By evaluating ideas and choosing a solution
b. By generating as many ideas as possible
c. By building a prototype of the playground