Basic Ideation Supplies

A great idea maker has materials and tools that help him externalize the idea in a way that builds support from stakeholders.  Consider the following as a “pack list” of items that help capture your ideas effectively.

Start Here

  • Ye Olde Paper and Pen.  Though the likely pair have been around for thousands of years, nothing beats them in jotting down an idea. I’m a fan of a blank page Moleskine and a Sharpie Fine Point Pen.  They never run out of batteries and are appropriate in all meetings from tactical war rooms up to board presentations.  I don’t mean to be patronizing here, but I often see ideas slip away because they were never captured on paper at their conception.

  • Whiteboard and Markers. A big blank canvas is daunting, but is infinitely flexible.  Agile boards, flowcharts, org charts, Gantt charts, you get the drift.  If you want to flesh out your ideas, know that whiteboards are still indispensable.   I wouldn’t waste money on office supply store white boards that cost over $100, I’d look at a much cheeper option like a$20 Dry Erase Wall Sticker, so there is ample room to ideate.

  • Sticky Notes.
    These make perfect disposable ballets, agile fact cards, schema placeholders etc…   There are technology alternatives to these little wonders, but when you are working face to face with a team, nothing is more effective than a Post-it.

Techniques & Strategies

Below is a list of terms that can help you learn to look critically at your innovation projects.

  • Napkin Sketching
  • Mind-Mapping.  This is the simple association exercise we learned in school.  Asking yourself or your team what relates to what helps tease out meaningful strategy.