Mash-up Ideation Session: Overcoming Ideation Roadblocks

June 1, 2020

In my last post, I walked through three ideation sessions my team members and I have used to generate successful ideas. Below, I’ll highlight one of my favorite types of sessions, the mash-up ideation session, and give you tips on how to avoid brainstorming roadblocks with your team.

How we Mash-up.

A Mash-up ideation session can be a good way to loosen up your brain and challenge your typical way of thinking. At SingleStone, my team had a core initiative to solve: How might we facilitate a better project kickoff experience for our clients and our team members? Using the Mash-up ideation session, we sparked new ideas from different perspectives. Here’s how we did it:

Mash-up ideation session at SingleStone

In category 1 we wrote – what are some activities of social gatherings? Here, we listed things like: eating, meeting new people, watching a movie, toasts, presents, going to a brewery, sharing cat videos, playing games, storytelling, and so on.

In category 2: what are critical components of a project kickoff meeting? Here, the ideas included meeting stakeholders, describing the project, going over a timeline, “who is SingleStone?” and next steps.

We then combined items from the two categories to generate ideas truing back to our problem statement. In short—What are some experiences of a kickoff meeting? Our ideas included:

  • Having the meeting offsite (proposed from going to a brewery),
  • Bringing a creative gift (stemmed from getting presents at Christmas),
  • Watching a SingleStone video (from watching a movie or watching cat videos)
  • An activity to uncover expectation (playing games)
  • Mingling before the meetings (talking, conversing, laughing)
  • Ordering food or having snacks (came from eating—everyone loves to eat)

As a group, we voted on the ideas that could be tested and implemented within our project constraints. We’ve been successful in a few areas and many of the original ideas proposed, resulted in a handful of unique kickoff experiences with our clients.

Today, we continue to test and refine after every kickoff. We continue to strengthen the solutions to our problem statement and we are not fearful of experimenting with new ways of thinking.

Overcoming roadblocks

When ideation sessions are successful, your teams feel empowered and your projects flourish. How do you make sure your sessions run smoothly? Here are some things to be aware of:

  • Collaboration styles. Strong, uncomfortable, or quiet personality types can dominate or hinder discussions. Facilitate ways to make everyone comfortable.
  • Lack of focus. Focus only on the problem at hand, careful not to diverge past the scope.
  • Over-analysis. Don’t get stuck on one thing or idea that can destroy the entire session.
  • Quick solutions. Don’t be so quick to land on an idea. Challenge assumptions and diverge on solutions.
  • Too few ideas. Encourage your team to go for quantity. As many ideas as possible makes sure there are enough foundational elements to build on.

Tips to start your own ideation sessions:

  • Set a mission. Your session should have a clear problem statement.
  • Set the tone. Defer judgment and set up a safe space.
  • Stay on topic. Remember your mission and focus on the solutions.
  • Be visual and engaging. All ideas should be captured and shared.
  • Just start. It doesn’t have to be perfect; you just have to get the conversation started.

Go forth and ideate.

I hope ideation will continue to help create an environment here at SingleStone that embodies innovation, collaboration, and joy. Using ideation will empower us to be innovative thought leaders with thriving ideas we can share with others. It will encourage collaboration, building on different perspectives and experiences of our team members—enabling our clients to feel involved in the project. Ideation will bring a unique and fun way of thinking to our team. We share in the joy of great ideas and celebrate the successful solutions together. Now it’s your turn, go ideate!

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Victoria Griffin

Senior Designer
Victoria Griffin has a passion for creative problem solving and human centered design. Through her 5 years of experience at SingleStone, she has collaborated with teams to lead design direction on websites, applications, dashboards, information graphics, and advertising publications that always keep the customer at the heart of the solution. Victoria brings in her background of illustration to create custom design experiences tailored toward her audience. Texan born and raised, Vic studied design and graduated with a degree in Visualization at Texas A&M University. Most days you can find her geeking out over the curves of letterforms or playing with her cat, Pegasus.

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