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Ideation (creative process)

Ideation (creative process)

Ideation is the creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas, where an idea is understood as a basic element of thought that can be visual, concrete, or abstract. [1] Ideation including all stages of a thought cycle, from innovation , to development, to actualization. [2] As such, it is an essential part of the design process , both in education and practice. [3]

Methods of innovation

The book Ideation: The Birth and Death of Ideas (Graham and Bachmann, 2004) offers the following methods of innovation:

Problem solution
This is the most simple method of progress, where solves it.
Derivative idea
This involves taking something that already exists and changing it.
Symbiotic idea
A symbiotic method of the idea of ​​creating multiple ideas.
Revolutionary idea
A revolutionary idea breaks away from traditional thought and creates a brand new perspective. For example, the writings of Copernicus .
Serendipitous discovery
Serendipitous solutions are ideas which have been coincidentally developed without the intention of the inventor. For example, the discovery of penicillin .
Targeted innovation
Creating a targeted innovation with a direct path of discovery. This is the case, and it is often accompanied by a separate research project. For example, linear programming .
Artistic innovation
Artistic innovation disregards the necessity for practicality and holds no constraints.
Philosophical idea
The philosophical idea lives in the mind of the creator and can never citation needed ] be proven. This type of idea can still have vast residual effects. For example, the idea of eternal recurrence .
Computer-assisted discovery
This uses a computer in order to widen possibilities of research and numeric possibilities.

This list of methods is accurate. Graham and Bachmann’s examples of revolutionary ideas might be better both Marx and Copernicus having built upon pre-existing concepts within new or different contexts. Similarly, the description provided for artistic innovation represents one perspective.

More – nuanced understandings, such as that by Stephen Nachmanovich in Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art . page needed ] In painting , for example, technical limitations such as the frame, the surface and the palette, along with perceptual constraints like figure / ground relationships and perspective , provide creative frameworks for the painter. Similar in music, harmonic scales, meter and time signatures in tandem with choices of instrumentation

The toTE model , an iterative problem solving strategy based on feedback loops, provides an alternative approach to considering the process of ideation. Ideation may also be considered as a facet of other generative systems, such as Emergence .


The word “ideation” has come under the term “as meaningless jargon”, [4] as well as being inappropriately similar to the psychiatric term for suicidal ideation . [5]

See also

  • Brainstorming
    • Brainstorming software
  • Creativity
    • Creativity techniques
  • Enterprise social software
  • Decision tree
  • originality


  1. Jump up^ Jonson, 2005, page 613
  2. Jump up^ Graham and Bachmann, 2004, pg 54
  3. Jump up^ Broadbent, in Fowles, 1979, page 15
  4. Jump up^ Berkun, Scott. “Why Jargon Feeds on Lazy Minds” . Harvard Business Review . Retrieved 16 March 2016 .
  5. Jump up^ Thomson, Stephanie. “Annoying Tech Jargon to Remove From Your Vocabulary-The Muse” . The Muse . Retrieved 16 March 2016 .


  • Michalko, Michael (2006) “Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques” ISBN  978-1580087735
  • Jonson, B (2005) “Design Ideation: the conceptual sketch in the digital age”. Design Studies Vol 26 No 6 pp 613-624. doi : 10.1016 / j.destud.2005.03.001
  • Graham, D and Bachmann, T., (2004) Ideation: The Birth and Death of Ideas . John Wiley and Sons Inc. ISBN  978-0471479444
  • Nachmanovich, S (1990) Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art . Tarcher / Putnam.
  • Fowles, RA (1979) “Design Methods in UK Schools of Architecture”. Design Studies, Vol 1 No 1 pp 15-16 doi : 10.1016 / 0142-694X (79) 90022-X