Design Thinking: Successfully Setting Up the Ideal Stage

Ana Zaldarriaga
Ana Zaldarriaga

Everyone has an idea, right? The answer is yes—and probably more than just one! In the third stage of Design Thinking known as Ideate, ideas are what the work is all about. The focus of this stage is to come up with as many possible solutions and answers to the questions raised from the POV statement. Here is an example POV statement: Students need breaks during the day in order to maintain their focus during instructional time. The Ideate stage would offer a range of solutions such as dance breaks between class periods, turning the lights on and off during class, have students rotate rooms, adding morning and afternoon yoga stretches, etc.

This is when people can really tap into their creative potential, think big, get outside the box, innovate, and use all their different intelligences to help find the idea to best solve the problem. At Leadership, we use the following brainstorm rules because they help groups ideate fast and freely. 

Our Basic Brainstorm Rules are: 

  • All ideas are welcome
  • The wilder, the better
  • Focus on quantity, not quality
  • Make no critical judgments
  • Expand on other’s ideas

Since generating ideas is a pretty straightforward task, the most important thing to do other than follow the brainstorm rules is to build an optimal environment for creativity. What does a mad scientist need to create something new? After much time in our own development labs and incubators, this is our list of Ideate necessities:

  • Open free space
  • Mobile configurations for work spaces
  • A variety of writing surfaces—newsprint, white boards, smart board, a variety of post-its
  • A mix of writing utensils—colored markers, crayons, pencils, gel pens
  • Brain fuel—snacks and stretches
  • Interesting prompts to break the ice

With these two lists, the Ideate stage will be successfully set for your group! If you have any other rules or necessities to help Ideate, share them with us here!



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Ana Zaldarriaga

By Ana Zaldarriaga

Ana Zaldarriaga Pronouns: she/her/hers Sr. Dir. of Employee Development The Leadership Program 535 8th Avenue, Floor 16 New York City, NY 10018 Phone: 212.625.8001 Fax: 212.625.8020 “…building strong leaders in classrooms and communities."