The anatomy of a advertising ideation workshop (Infographic)

There’s nothing particularly mysterious in regards to the origins of an amazing concept. It’s what occurs while you dedicate time to enthusiastic about the best way to resolve an issue or seize a chance.

The place many entrepreneurs battle, although, is definitely discovering that point to simply sit down and suppose.

Enter the ideation workshop.

It’s as shut as a advertising staff can come to creating all the best situations for progressive considering.

Let’s again up: What precisely is ideation?

Ideation is the act of “forming or entertaining new concepts.”

Although the phrase dates again a whole bunch of years, consumer expertise designers have co-opted it as a part of the “Design Considering” mannequin in current instances. Design Considering is a nonlinear course of that helps designers discover inventive options to actual issues a consumer faces.

In advertising, ideation usually retains this context (in any case, there’s loads of UX and design in advertising).

However it could actually extra broadly discuss with the method of growing inventive content material concepts in different mediums like writing and video.

Some examples of ideation in advertising would possibly embody:

  • Developing with weblog matters.
  • Creating concepts to gasoline a brand new explainer video collection.
  • Exploring new brand choices.
  • Making an attempt to provide you with a brand new model slogan.
  • Spitballing concepts to your subsequent advertising marketing campaign.
  • Ideating strategic alternatives.

So what’s an ideation workshop?

It’s a elaborate means of claiming a structured group brainstorming session.

“Structured” is an operative phrase right here.

“Brainstorming is the opposite operative phrase.

We imply “structured,” within the sense that there must be a facilitator for the session, a format, a time, a spot, key stakeholders current and a specific alternative or problem on the desk.

After we say brainstorming, we actually imply brainstorming. Convey on the metaphorical lightning, thunder, hail, sprites, wind. No matter concept blows into your thoughts deserves point out.

An ideation session is a secure house so that you can problem assumptions. Don’t fear about being proper. A part of having an amazing concept is having quite a lot of dangerous ones first.

What occurs in an ideation session?

No two ideation workshops are equivalent. Even the names could be totally different. You would possibly name yours an innovation workshop or simply persist with the nice outdated brainstorming session. It doesn’t matter.

What issues is:

  1. What you select to deal with. Ideation periods are nice for particular issues that may be solved with open-ended options. Not each choice will warrant an ideation workshop. You don’t want a workshop to decide on whether or not you’ll use Marketo or Padot to your electronic mail advertising. You would possibly want one in case you’re reinventing your e-newsletter.
  2. The way you format your workshop.

That second merchandise is a bit more concerned, so let’s stroll by means of the fundamental format parts that each ideation workshop must succeed:

The precise individuals

First you want a facilitator – somebody who shall be in command of maintaining the workshop session centered on the issue/undertaking at hand and documenting any motion gadgets which may come up.

Second, you need to embody anybody who you anticipate will work immediately on the undertaking – writers, designers, videographers, strategists, and so forth. Advertising and marketing departments typically make the error of taking a top-down method to creativity the place a couple of strategists do the majority of the ideation after which delegate their concepts to creatives. The aim of an ideation workshop is to ultimately converge on an concept that’s price pursuing, to not dictate a plan.

Lastly, take into consideration who can herald some outdoors perspective on the problem. Possibly pull somebody in from gross sales in case you’re attempting to ideate round a lead nurturing marketing campaign. Ask somebody from R&D to sit down in as you ideate on model positioning to your newest providing.


In non-pandemic instances, your location is perhaps probably the most sunlit of your convention rooms, the park across the block, the atrium, the bar, and so forth. Decide a spot that doesn’t really feel enclosed, and the place there are a number of types of stimuli, however the place members can nonetheless be heard.

Whereas social distancing, you’ll should get just a little bit extra inventive. Encourage attendees to sit down someplace apart from their traditional workspace. The facilitator have to be particularly aware of the tone and temper of the convention. They are often the primary to crack a beer, as an illustration.

Preparation and format

I’ll offer you an instance from Brafton’s personal advertising staff. We lately had a digital ideation session about our homepage. Our facilitator emailed us a number of days prematurely with this drawback assertion: “We haven’t evaluated our homepage structure in years; does it nonetheless do all the pieces we’d like and need it to?”

The 4 attendees got a homework project: Convey examples of homepages you want. In the course of the session, the facilitator reiterated the issue assertion. Every attendee then had an opportunity to stroll by means of their examples. On the finish of every walkthrough, the decision was opened to everybody else, who may principally spout off their concepts about how these examples would possibly apply to what we’d like, would possibly want, are doing proper, and so forth. on our personal homepage. On the finish of the session, the facilitator summarized speaking factors. She later adopted up with a doc outlining individuals’s concepts.

Your format might be completely totally different relying in your drawback assertion. And that’s wonderful. Simply guarantee that it’s acceptable for the issue assertion at hand.


Attempt to begin with an icebreaker – one thing to chill out the thoughts and make your members really feel much less guarded. You’ll get their greatest concepts in the event that they really feel comfy sharing.

Then there are actions that will help you uncover potential concepts:

  • Function-playing: Act out numerous buyer journey situations.
  • Mind-writing/sketching: Have every particular person write out or sketch out an concept or design after which cross it to a different one who then provides to it.
  • Reverse brainstorming: Actively consider a listing of dangerous concepts (this may also help you slim down your focus areas).

You would possibly even gamify your periods. As an example, possibly you play kill, marry, screw along with your product choices or desert island along with your weblog classes.

Actions may also help you detect a brand new concept reasonably than actively generate it. They will additionally change the best way you interact with an issue or situation by disarming the problem-solving aspect of your mind so you may extra simply see issues with a brand new thoughts.


Final however not least, convergence is the half the place you determine some form of consensus about which concepts deserve additional consideration. The aim of concept technology is to encourage divergent considering – that’s, exploring many attainable options.

When you’ve achieved that, the ultimate step is to truly consider these concepts. Some shall be eradicated. Some is perhaps mixed. Ultimately, you’ll be left with a handful of concepts, at which level you are able to do a couple of issues.

One possibility is to make use of the best aspect of your mind, so to talk, to make an govt choice. One other is to actually vote on the plan of action. As an example, a sticky word of a sure coloration would possibly signify a vote for a specific concept.

Lastly! A proof for all these inventory pictures of individuals clean post-it notes.

In some ideation periods, you wish to stroll away with as many sturdy resolutions as attainable.

As an example, I’ve had ideation periods with our advertising staff the place we spend the primary 5 minutes considering up dozens of weblog concepts, and the final 25 minutes scrapping those we don’t like. On the finish, we’re left with fewer concepts than we began with, however clearly we would like as many good weblog matters as attainable.

So how usually do you do that music and dance?

As usually as you should. When do you want to? Each time you’ve a particular drawback that may be solved by an open-ended, inventive answer.

That drawback might be so simple as “we’d like some extra weblog content material concepts” or as complicated as “we have to utterly reinvent our on-line branding.”

Both means, an ideation session is your means of turning inventive considering right into a enterprise course of.

Now go manufacture some nice concepts.

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