Let's start with ideation. What is it anyways, ideation is the process of generating ideas which are novel, innovative, and which might solve the problem at hands. There are different techniques we can use depending on whether we're ideating in groups or individually, as well as what kind of challenge we're working on, but regardless, we use our how might we challenge frame as our prompt to guide our idea generation. Here are a few of our favorite techniques. The first is force fit, this is where you pick two seemingly unrelated concepts, objects, or experiences. What happens when you mash them together? Unexpected combinations can emerge, leading to new ways of thinking about the challenge or ideas and solutions. Crazy 8s, this is a sketching technique that aims to generate a bunch of ideas quickly. Take a piece of paper fold it into eight squares, set a timer for five minutes, and try to fill out as many of the boxes as possible. If you fill in all eight and still have time left, try for eight more. Worst idea, if you or your group is feeling stuck, this is a great way to reignite your energy. Simply asks the group to create a list of bad, terrible, stupid, or even gross ideas. This will get participants laughing and re-engaged. Once you have a list, you can challenge yourself to turn those horrible ideas, into great ones by either considering the opposite or finding aspects within the terrible idea that can be used to inspire a good one. Of course brainstorming, this is a great technique to come up with a lot of ideas quickly. Starting with a prompt question, you challenge the group or yourself to come up with as many ideas as possible. Write each idea down, one idea on one poster. While it seems easy and fun, there are some rules to help our idea generation be more effective. First, deferred judgment. You never know where a great idea is going to come from. The key is to make sure everybody feels comfortable to share their ideas, whatever they are. Don't have a preconceived notion of what the approach should look like. Be confident and create ideas that challenge the status quo, whether big or small. We'll have time later in the process to evaluate and select the most promising ideas. Second, encourage wild ideas. Wild ideas can often express what we're really looking for in a solution if we didn't feel confined by factors like technology or current ways of doing things. Often, we can also find a nugget in a wild idea that can inspire something totally new and different. Third, build on the ideas of others, being positive and building on others ideas by saying "Yes and," or "To build on that," can make an idea even better. Fourth, stay focused on the topic. It's easy to get distracted, but stay focused on the scope of your challenge in front of you. Fifth, one conversation at a time. Ideation doesn't have to be a solo activity. In fact, it can be stronger when more people are involved. Give everyone involved an idea generation time to speak and pay attention when they do. This will help to keep everyone engaged and feeling heard. Six, be visual, explore different ways to communicate your ideas, not just in writing. Remember a picture is worth a 1000 words and often a simple sketch can get your idea out there faster. Seventh, go for quantity. Do a brain purge to get all your ideas out there as fast as possible without overthinking. Often it's when you get your top-of-mind ideas on the table that you're able to think of more creative and innovative solutions. In a 60-minute ideation session, it's not uncommon to generate a 100 or more ideas. Remember later you'll be able to prioritize the ones to move forward with. Finally, be inclusive. Invite various individuals with different backgrounds to participate in your ideation session. If you look around the table and everyone looks like you, or if there's no one who is directly impacted by the challenge, stop and invite different people to join you. Your collective ideas will be stronger for it.