Exploring Brainstorming Techniques and Evaluation Methods - Spring2 Innovation

Exploring Brainstorming Techniques and Evaluation Methods

May 16, 2024


Teams can leverage various brainstorming techniques and evaluation methods to ensure that the solutions they generate are feasible, desirable, and viable. Here’s a structured approach your team can follow for their next ideation session. 

As part of Spring2 Innovation’s Design Thinking Certification program, these same techniques are taught to learners in ways they can implement in their own unique work environments. Let’s get familiar with what you can expect!

Brainstorming Techniques:

Classic Brainstorming. Gather team members to generate ideas freely without criticism. Encourage wild ideas and build upon them collaboratively. Alternatively, you can also try brainwriting. Instead of verbal brainstorming, individuals write down their ideas anonymously – this variation allows for more equitable participation, as quieter team members have an equal chance to contribute.

Reverse Thinking. Rather than generating solutions, focus on identifying potential problems or obstacles. The goal is to ask, “How can the situation be made worse?” Once these are identified, the team can brainstorm solutions to overcome them.

Mind Mapping. Start with a central idea or problem and branch out to explore related concepts and potential solutions. This is a visual technique that can help uncover connections and illuminate new ideas. Spring2 Innovation often uses mind mapping because it gives teams a visual artifact of the outputs from the brainstorming session that they can share with stakeholders.

Once you have generated a list of solutions using these techniques, you’ll want to be able to have a set of evaluation criteria to help you assess whether proposed solutions are technically, financially, and operationally feasible within the constraints of your organization. Part of this will be to consider whether the solution meets the needs and preferences of users or stakeholders.

Evaluating the viability of potential solutions is crucial in the innovation process because it ensures that resources are allocated effectively and that initiatives have a desirable impact. Public sector organizations operate within budget constraints and serve diverse stakeholders with varying needs. By assessing viability, organizations can determine if proposed solutions are financially feasible, scalable, and aligned with long-term goals. Additionally, evaluating viability helps mitigate risks associated with implementation, ensuring that projects can be executed efficiently and sustained over time. Ultimately, prioritizing viability fosters trust among stakeholders and enhances the delivery of essential services to end-users.

Evaluation Methods: 

SWOT Analysis. A popular tool among project managers for its robustness. It evaluates the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with each solution. This structured approach can help identify key considerations for feasibility, desirability, and viability.

Prototype Testing. As part of the fifth step of design thinking, developing prototypes or minimum viable products (MVPs) tests the feasibility and desirability of the solution with users in real time. Gather feedback to refine the solution iteratively.

You can opt for low-fidelity prototypes, which work out the core elements of what the solution needs to do, or visualize what it could be. The materials used are not what the end product will be made of, but are quick, inexpensive, and accessible ways to prototype.

As you get closer to the actual end product or solution, high-fidelity prototypes will allow for more compelling and rigorous user testing so you can be more confident in how your users will respond to the solution. These take longer to create, and it can be challenging to make changes once finished. 

By employing a combination of brainstorming techniques and rigorous evaluation methods, public sector innovation teams can generate and prioritize solutions that are both innovative and impactful. If you are finding your team needs more guidance on the ideation phase of your current project, reach out to info@spring2innovation.com.

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