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November 10, 2023
Words by
Ileana Marcut

Boost Creativity With These 5 Efficient Methods for Generating Ideas

Simple ideation methods that help teams collaborate and get fast results.

What is Ideation?

Ideation is the process of generating creative ideas and solutions for specific challenges. It is often used in software development for problem-solving, innovation, and brainstorming sessions to develop new products, services, or strategies.

During ideation sessions, people use brainstorming, sketching, writing, prototyping, and other techniques to communicate solutions.

Ideation is also a phase in the Design Thinking process. Read about Design Thinking

"Ideation is the process of generating a broad set of ideas on a given topic, with no attempt to judge or evaluate them." - Nielsen Norman Group

The More, The Better

Collaboration and co-creation are essential to creative thinking and innovation. Working with people with diverse perspectives helps develop new ideas and more ingenious solutions.

Group sessions for generating ideas and solutions can be challenging. However, structured methods and a process can ensure practical results and make the experience fun.

Ideation sessions help teams to:

How to Prepare for an Ideation Session

Before starting an ideation session, ensure that you have clearly defined a challenge that is easily understandable by everyone. Also, provide the necessary information to give context and help people understand what needs to be solved.

  1. Designate a facilitator for the session
  2. Define the problem statement and the challenge
  3. Condense research findings into easily understandable bits
  4. Include an Ice Breaker
  5. Choose the ideation methods or process
  6. Invite the right people to solve the challenge

5 Efficient Methods for Generating Ideas

There are many techniques for collaborating and generating ideas to choose from. Here are 5 different methods that I find most efficient for ideation:

  1. Lightning Demos
  2. Crazy 8's
  3. Worst Possible Idea
  4. Mash-up
  5. News Headline

Lightning Demos

Lightning Demos are an excellent way to get inspired before brainstorming ideas.


  1. Individually search for inspiration - 15 min
  2. Each person creates a presentation of their findings - 15 min
  3. Everyone presents their demo - 3 min/pers

Encourage people to get inspiration from different industries and mediums, to go beyond what's obvious.

Crazy 8's

Crazy 8's is an easy and fun exercise for generating diverse ideas fast. All you have to do is take a piece of paper and fold it in 8 or use a digital board to create 8 rectangles.


  1. Set the timer for 8 minutes
  2. Individually, sketch one idea per rectangle
  3. After 8 minutes, everyone stops

The sketches don't have to be beautiful, but just enough to express the idea. The goal is to turn all abstract concepts into something concrete and force people to challenge their initial ideas.

It works because it's fast and doesn't allow overthinking.

Worst Possible Idea

The Worst Possible Idea method is a fun way to help people relax and boost their creativity. Instead of focusing on finding solutions, participants are encouraged to generate bad ideas to solve the problem.


  1. Individually, write one bad idea per Post-it, write as many ideas as possible! - 5 min
  2. List the details of each bad idea - 5 min
  3. Highlight what makes the idea so bad - 5 min
  4. Present ideas to the team - 3 min/pers
  5. As a group, come up with opposite ideas and turn bad ideas into good ones - 30 min+

This method makes people more comfortable sharing their ideas with a group. It can also serve as a great icebreaker.


The Mash-up method combines various concepts to generate innovative and unexpected ideas, making it an excellent approach to encourage creative thinking and engagement in an ideation session.


  1. As a group, choose two subjects that are unrelated to each other. At least one subject should relate to the challenge you are trying to solve
  2. Individually, brainstorm ideas for each subject - 5 min
  3. Individually, combine ideas from each subject to create new concepts - 10 min
  4. Present your ideas to the group and explain their relevance to the challenge - 30 min+

News Headline

The News Headline method is a creative thinking technique used to generate and evaluate ideas by framing them as news from the future. 

This exercise encourages forward-thinking, inspiring people to imagine how their ideas could shape and impact the future.


Imagine you are 20 years in the future. Imagine that the project you are working on is very successful. What does success look like? What made it successful? 

  1. Individually, think about how this would look like as news. Write a headline and sketch a news feature - 10 min
  2. Share your sketches with the group and vote for your favorite - 15 min
  3. As a group, discuss the votes, the similarities, the emerging themes, and ideate on how this future can become real - 30 min+

This exercise is suitable as the first step in a workshop for creating a vision strategy or defining solutions.

Embrace all ideas and turn results into action plans

When it comes to ideation, no idea is too crazy or unconventional. Any thought has the potential to ignite something amazing. 

The key is to capture every idea and encourage collaboration. Ultimately, the goal is to turn those innovative ideas into concrete action plans that everyone can get behind. Ah, and don't forget to have fun!

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