Ask the Mighty Panda: What is Ideation in Design?

What does the term "ideation" mean in the context of interface design? Basically, this is brainstorming design as you generate new concepts and visions. These thoughts are then transferred to real prototypes, giving life to products with radically new designs. In practical terms, this is the third phase of the design thinking process. The Mighty Panda, who comprehended Freedom from Prejudice, will tell you in more detail about the principles of ideation.


Illustration by Lobster Studio


Where Do Pandas Obtain New Ideas?

The Mighty Panda wants to start with seven of the most popular methods to help you generate new ideas:

#1 — Brainstorm

This is the most well-known method, which consists in generating and discussing the maximum number of ideas, including the most fantastic and stupid ones;

#2 — Braindump

This method is essential ‘post-brainstorm’ — after all the ideas seem to have been generated, you take a ten-minute break and start again generating ideas that are already more conscious and pure;

#3 — Brainwrite

This is almost the same as a brainstorm, but instead of discussing all the ideas, each of the participants in the process writes their thoughts anonymously on paper, so that when choosing the most suitable idea, no one will reason biasedly;


Illustration by Cristian Pintos


#4 — Mindmap

This approach implies an abstract representation of ideas in the form of pictures and the connections between them (by the way, you can use the flowmapp tool here);

#5 — Bodystorm

This is a very interesting generation technique, which consists in displaying the desired physical experience while working with a future interface;

#6 — Storyboard

With this approach, your team members sketch out the user experience step by step, complementing their drawings with text footnotes (like comics);


Illustration by Malu Romero


#7 — Cheatstorm

This technique is based on the use of ideas that were eliminated in previous brainstorms.


Brainstorming Rules That Pandas Use

Now let’s find out what can help you brainstorm most productively:

Clear time frames

Well, everything is clear here: too long informal gatherings can turn into fun, but not into the generation of worthwhile ideas.

The exact formulation of the problem

Before moving on to the discussion, identify the main subject and talk about the goals you want to achieve (or the problems that need to be solved).

Step by step execution of the plan

The thought process will be productive if it is well organized and time-bound. Uncontrolled bursts of creativity are useless for brainstorming sessions.


Illustration by Yans Media


Lack of criticism

All ideas are greatly appreciated. Here, no one can shut up anyone, regardless of the position and level of expertise.

Full approval of any ideas

Remember that brainstorming is a creative process, which means that you can generate and develop any, even the craziest ideas

Focus on quantity, not quality

In brainstorming, quantity becomes quality. The more ideas, the more choice the team will have. The organizer’s task here is to encourage discussion participants to share their thoughts


Some people find it easier to generate good ideas in a team than alone, communicating and complementing each other’s thoughts, therefore — help to ensure that the atmosphere between all participants is as friendly as possible


Illustration by uigo



It may be easier for some participants to visualize their idea than to verbalize it, so prepare tools in advance that can assist in visualization.


Top-3 the Mighty Panda’s Ideation Methods to Select Ideas

Finally, the Mighty Panda below will share with you the most effective methods for selecting ideas.

Dot voting

You offer each of the team members the opportunity to give 3-4 votes for the ideas they like most. At the same time, you attach each of the ideas on the board on a sticker. Participants who liked a specific idea put a dot on the sticker with a marker. The idea that earned the maximum number of points won.

Four-categories method

This method is a little more complicated. Here, instead of voting unambiguously in favor of a particular idea, you are asking each team member to categorize each idea into one or two categories. The names of the categories can be as follows: ‘optimal price-quality ratio’, ‘realization of long-term prospects’, ‘will be liked by the majority’, ‘I personally like’. After that, you can choose those options that balance between practicality and attractiveness to the end user.

Bingo selection

Here, participants divide their preferences into three categories: ‘ideal choice for mobile devices’, ‘ideal choice for stationary devices’, and ‘ideal choice from the point of view of the average user’. In fact, here you assess the viability of an idea in the context of its applicability to devices with different form factors.


Non-Final Panda’s Thoughts

As you can see, brainstorming with the right approach can bring you more than a dozen successful design ideas. The Mighty Panda will tell you more about the tools that can be used in this process in our second article.



For those who have read to the end, the Mighty Panda has summarized five simple guidelines on the subject of this article:


  1. Bad ideas are something that doesn’t exist
  2. The number of ideas is more important
  3. Don’t forget to write down ALL ideas
  4. Stimulate communication to make ideas better
  5. Forget about prejudice
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