Before diving into the nitty-gritty bits of wisdom in this post, let’s get one thing out of the way: What on earth is an ideation session?
It’s one of those terms that sounds complicated when you say it out loud, but it’s actually very straightforward. Just take each part in turn. “Ideation” is the process of generating ideas. And a “session,” in a business context, is just a meeting.
A meeting for generating ideas—if you’re thinking that sounds a lot like brainstorming, you’re right! Or partially right, at any rate. While brainstorming refers to a specific process, an ideation session might include any number of creative processes, including brainstorming, sketching, or even casually kicking around ideas with a few co-workers.
Whatever form your ideation session takes, we can tell you that your meeting will be most successful with a little bit of structure. Nothing too formal—just a way to help facilitate the process and catch ideas as they come. This is where Lucidspark comes in.
How to facilitate brainstorming in Lucidspark
One of Lucidspark’s best qualities is its flexibility: It can be as lightweight or robust as you need it to be. That means there’s no right way to use Lucidspark during a meeting. So rather than viewing these tips as a checklist of activities to do, use them as a toolbox.
Here is a set of features and practices you can use—in any combination—to get the most from your team’s brainstorming sessions.
Set up the board ahead of time
Nobody likes to have their time wasted, especially in meetings. Don’t spend valuable meeting time opening a new Lucidspark board, adding a title, containers, agenda items, etc. All of that can be taken care of beforehand.
Not only will this help you start your meeting on the right foot, but it also provides structure. By outlining key talking points, setting an agenda, and using other organizational tools within Lucidspark, you can keep your ideation sessions on task, focused, and moving smoothly.
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Share the board before the meeting
Just like the last tip, this one comes down to time management. If you share your prepared Lucidspark board before the meeting, attendees get an overview of what the meeting will cover, have time to generate ideas beforehand, and maybe even add some precursory thoughts to the document. In short, it helps everyone come prepared, letting you jump right into actual brainstorming. It primes the pump, so to speak.
To easily share your board, simply select the three person icon in the top right corner, and turn on Join ID. This feature allows you, the facilitator, to conveniently and securely share your board with other collaborators.
Assign Collaborator colors
Real-time collaboration offers a lot of benefits: seamless sharing, an opportunity for remote teams to connect, and so much more. But without any structure to your ideation meeting, real-time collaboration can turn from a blessing into a curse, with everyone’s ideas becoming cluttered and indistinguishable.
With Lucidspark boards, teams have enough space to work in real time without crowding other collaborators’ contributions. If, however, you find your board getting a little messy, simply add some structure. One easy way to do this is to assign Collaborator colors.
Assigning each collaborator (or each team of collaborators, depending on the situation) a color can help add rhyme and reason to an otherwise hectic flurry of ideation. Say Linda from engineering is assigned the color blue and Lisa from marketing is red. Other collaborators can quickly take in a lot of information: Based on the color of each contribution, they can tell who made it and what perspective (business, engineering, etc.) they are coming from.
Another easy way to keep track of participant's ideas by turning on the authors feature. Turning on this feature will list the author's name in the bottom right-hand corner of the sticky note. Even if the sticky note is edited, the original author's name will be shown along with the person who made the changes.
Start a voting session
With brainstorming, the focus is on generation: Participants should be able to throw out ideas without judgment. Once those ideas are down, however, you need a way to sort the wheat from the chaff, the good ideas from the not-so-good ones. Voting is a quick, fair way to assess each idea, determining whether to keep it or toss it.
You can start with our traditional dot voting template (simply give each collaborator a set of dots to drag and drop), but better yet, use Lucidspark’s built-in voting feature. To access voting in Lucidspark, open the Team Tools panel in the upper right corner and select “Voting.”
From there, set your parameters: What are you voting on? How many votes per person? Do you want to set a time limit to keep things moving along?
Establish and organize thoughts with tags
As you get ideas down on sticky notes, certain groups and trends will likely emerge. Rather than trying to remember these groupings for later, go ahead and label sticky notes and other shapes with specific tags.
Then, when you’re ready to organize your ideas, you can simply gather or sort by tag. Lucidspark will automatically bring together shapes with the same tag, giving order to otherwise scattered ideas.
Keep things on track with a timer
Often during meetings, the time gets away from us. Picture this: After a slow start (which you can avoid using some of the above tips!), the ideas are finally flowing. But as soon as you feel like you’re getting somewhere, you run out of time. You can go over time, sure, but people have other meetings to get to. Or maybe you can pick up tomorrow? But then it’ll be hard to get back into the swing of things.
Best avoid that situation altogether.
The best thing you can do to keep meetings from running over is setting an agenda and sticking to it. Use the timer feature in Lucidspark to ensure each part of the meeting wraps up on time. Want to give participants five minutes to come up with ideas? Put it on the timer. This creates accountability: With a timer, everyone knows when to wrap things up.
Group and connect ideas with freehand drawing
While tags are a great way to group and sort ideas in Lucidspark, sometimes we need the simplicity of sticky notes, a dry erase marker, and a whiteboard. Fortunately, Lucidspark has that too. As you record ideas on your Lucidspark board with sticky notes or other containers and shapes, you can use the freehand drawing feature to get that good ol’ whiteboard feel. Circle groups of related ideas, draw arrows to create connections, cross things out—if you can draw it, you can do it in Lucidspark!
Export ideas into Lucidchart
So, you’ve got some ideas down in a Lucidspark board and selected the best ones—what’s next? Lucidspark allows you to export your boards directly into Lucidchart. This way, you can take those initial ideas and formalize them. In Lucidchart, you can turn those ideas into processes, to start taking action.
Remember: You don’t have to use all of these tips at once. Each ideation session is different—the real trick is finding the processes that work best for you! Armed with these tips and tricks, however, you’re in good shape.
Try these tips and tricks with your own team during your next brainstorm using Lucidspark.Sign up today
Lucidspark, a cloud-based virtual whiteboard, is a core component of Lucid Software's Visual Collaboration Suite. This cutting-edge digital canvas brings teams together to brainstorm, collaborate, and consolidate collective thinking into actionable next steps—all in real time. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit lucidspark.com.