The ideas theme contains all steps that deal with getting to a fundable idea. Specifically, these are the “ideation” (the formation of new ideas), conceptualization, and portfolio management steps.
As described before, it is important to keep in mind that the various steps in the innovation process do not and should not be performed in a purely sequential manner. This is all the more true for the steps within a certain subtheme. For instance, there is no requirement to perform the Market Scanning activities, and the Creativity and Brainstorming activities in a sequential manner. It is likely that they will be performed in parallel, or in an iterative fashion.
Even between subthemes it is possible to perform the activities in a non-linear fashion. For instance, experiences from the feasibility phase (conceptualization subtheme) can serve as feedback for the ‘Ideation subtheme’.
The Ideas Theme could broadly be divided into two subthemes – the Ideation subtheme and the Conceptualization subtheme. The subthemes are delineated by filters, which make sure that non-viable ideas never make it to later subthemes in the process. Again, this does not imply that these filters are brick walls. One can iterate in a non-linear fashion across filters as well. The next sections describe the various subthemes in greater detail.
“Ideation” is described as the creative process of searching for, generating, developing and communicating new ideas. In the Ideation subtheme the activities lead to the actual generation of ideas. It is the starting point of the actual innovation. While in literature you can find many different activities for this step, they can be broadly divided in the following four categories:
- Market Scanning
- Problem definition
- Idea Generation and Capture
- Idea Assessment and Filtering
Now that one or more ideas have passed through the ideas filter, the goal of the conceptualization theme is to further develop these ideas into more concrete (perhaps even physical) concepts, so they can be more accurately assessed based on various criteria (technical feasibility, fit of the proposed concept with the solution, etc.). Conceptualization is meant to take away most of the insecurities that exist surrounding the various properties of the idea. In general, one can define two subthemes – “Concept development” and “Concept assessment”, which ideally should be executed iteratively until a solid understanding of the proposed innovation is reached, so that it can be accurately evaluated in the Portfolio Management activity.