The Art of Ideation

This week in my Learning Technology By Design class, we are learning about ideation and how it can be broken down into two main part: brainstorming and incubation. While brainstorming is more of an active process of coming up with ideas, incubation is more of an unconscious process of letting our thoughts and ideas marinate and blend into something new. Put these two phases together and the ideas should begin to flow! To practice ideation, I was instructed to spend some time jotting down thoughts regarding my Problem of Practice. Following this brainstorming session, I allowed my thoughts and ideas to incubate as I took a break. Immediately after this break, I sat back down to see if any new thoughts or ideas came to mind. My brainstorming notes for both sessions can be found here or by clicking the picture below.

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While I like the idea of this “work-incubation-revisiting” activity, I found that I got the most out of just typing everything that came to mind (brainstorming). I tried to do what this week’s videos and reading told us and just listed everything I was thinking without focusing too much on whether it was a good or bad thought. I planned to do this for the minimum 15 minutes but since the thoughts kept coming, I kept it up for closer to 25 minutes before my thoughts and ideas began to slow down. My incubation time was spent throwing the football around outside with my son. (I had to take advantage of the nearly 60 degree, sunny afternoon!) I’m not too good at throwing spirals but I still think this would be considered a “light mental activity.” I didn’t notice my mind coming back to my problem of practice at all during this break but when I sat back down and looked at my initial notes, I again had a lot of thoughts to write down. While I didn’t come up with anything earth shattering on this second brainstorming session, I was able to type out my thoughts and ideas for another 20-25 minutes.

I think that maybe the structure of this activity puts a lot of pressure on the incubation phase and therefore, it might prevent major inspirations from happening as it felt a bit forced. Based on my previous experiences, I think that a longer incubation phase might help. Maybe as I cook dinner, lay in bed, stand in the shower, or drive to work during the next day, I will be hit with some inspiration. If so, I’ll be sure to edit this post!

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