Conceived by Tony Buzan in 1972, mind mapping is a visual technique designed to stimulate the connection between various ideas or data sets.
The process begins with jotting down a main keyword, typically tied to your problem statement, at the centre of the page. Then, you let your mind roam freely, surrounding this central keyword with any related ideas that spring to mind.
The last step involves identifying the relationships between these ideas and illustrating these links. This exercise creates a visual map representing interconnected thoughts and concepts.
SCAMPER is a creative thinking technique, and the acronym stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse. Each of these actions can be applied to generate ideas for improving a product, a service, or even a process, or resolving a problem. Here’s what each of the seven strategies entails:
➡️Substitute: Consider replacing a part of the product, process, or situation with something else. For instance, can you substitute a feature or component of a software product with something more efficient?
➡️Combine: Explore combining two or more parts or elements to create something new. This could mean combining functionalities in a software product for improved user experience.
➡️Adapt: Look at how you can change or tweak the product or process to make it better. Can you adapt a feature to serve another function?
➡️Modify: Consider how you can alter or modify an aspect of your product, process, or situation. This could be modifying a user interface element for better usability.
➡️Put it to another use: Consider whether you can use the product or its parts in other ways or contexts.
➡️Eliminate: Look at what happens when you remove parts or elements of the product or process. Does it make things simpler, more cost-effective, or more efficient?
➡️Reverse and rearrange: Consider what could happen if you reversed the order or organisation of the process or product. Could a reverse in the workflow improve the software’s functionality?
Instead of asking, “How do I solve or prevent this problem?” reverse thinking asks, “How could I possibly cause the problem?”
The purpose of reverse thinking is to explore problems from different perspectives and unearth potential issues that might not be immediately obvious. By thinking about how to cause the problem, you can gain insight into the factors contributing to the issue.
For instance, if you were trying to create a user-friendly software application, you might ask, “How could we make this software as difficult to use as possible?” In attempting to answer this, you will likely identify features or aspects that could hinder user experience if not properly addressed, thus giving you a clearer understanding of what to avoid in your design.
After generating ideas using reverse thinking, the next step is to ‘reverse’ these negative actions into solutions for the original problem. This technique can be especially helpful when you’re stuck or dealing with complex issues.
Key Success Factors for Ideation
Despite employing all the right techniques, sometimes things can still veer off course. So, let’s delve into how to get the most out of your ideation sessions.
💡Set clear goals
Before starting the ideation process, establish clear objectives aligned with your product strategy. Identifying this focus is aimed at guiding the ideation and keeping the team on track.
💡Quantity over quality
The goal is to generate as many ideas as possible. Even ideas that initially seem too radical or unfeasible can lead to valuable insights or be refined into practical solutions.
💡Include all stakeholders
Your product ideation sessions should include stakeholders from various roles, including your product team, product managers, developers, and designers, as well as sales and customer support representatives.
Consider seeking input from end users or external experts as well. This diversity can lead to a broader range of ideas and perspectives.
💡Have a problem-solving workshop
At MOHARA, the first step in our product ideation process is to set up a problem-solving workshop.
A problem-solving workshop is a collaborative event or session where founders, designers, and developers come together to identify, analyse, and develop solutions for a new product and decide on the key features that the minimum viable product (MVP) will contain.
The main goal of this process is to foster creative thinking, encourage teamwork, and facilitate learning by sharing ideas, experiences, and perspectives.