Asking ‘what if?’ is a powerful way to fill a wall with great ideas. PAIRED WITH SOME DETAILS, ‘WHAT IF?’ CAN BECOME THE TRIGGER THAT CREATES A TIDAL WAVE. Feel free to use these trigger questions, or create your own! Ask the trigger questions to your team in a fast pace, challenging each person to create lots of ideas.
HOW TO USE THE WALL OF IDEAS
The purpose of this tool is to fill up an entire wall with the ideas generated by a team in a short amount of time. This technique uses trigger questions to get the creative juices flowing. Using time pressure and a sense of competition (who added the largest number of post-its?) make it easier to shake any creative blocks. In groups of around 10 people, it is doable to reach more than 200-300 ideas in half an hour! From those ideas, there will always be a few that are truly new and interesting. You need to get past the ideas everyone already had first…
The wall of ideas is a great way to record the results of your ideation session. Asking them trigger questions as they fasten their sticky notes to the wall is a great way to get everyone, from the introverts to the extroverts, working together creatively and feeling a sense of achievement. As each team member adds ideas to the wall, the rest of the team will no doubt come up with new ones or point out ones that are funny or interesting.
ASKING TRIGGER QUESTIONS
The wall of ideas requires preparation. First, decide on a list of trigger questions that you’re going to ask the team in rapid succession (on every 30 seconds or so). As the trigger questions are asked, each person will simply write whatever comes to mind on a sticky note using a permanent marker. By the end of this exercise, there should be a pile of at least as many sticky notes as there are questions in front of each participant.
… you stopped selling your #1 product or service?
… you offered it for free?
… you turned your product into a service?
… you only sold it online or offline?
… you offered a subscription model?
… you used a bait and hook model?
… you offered a freemium model?
… you offering was B2C or B2B only?
… you could eliminate fixed costs? How?
TESLA’S WALL OF IDEAS
Above you see the Wall of Ideas for Tesla. The main idea is this: Tesla Rockets that can bring you to other cities or even other planets in no time! Can you imagine a day that you can fly from New York to Singapore in just 30 minutes? Or that you can visit the moon? Can Tesla already connect with kids? For example, perhaps kids can train by driving a Tesla in a simulator game on the PlayStation, or maybe even visit a cool Tesla theme park. What if Tesla also produced Tesla bikes, airplanes, trains and subways or produced a Tesla vehicle car especially for business, women or kids? What if Teslas could fly?
CLUSTERING YOUR IDEAS
There will be way too many ideas on the wall to make sense of. So the next step is to organize the ideas into a maximum of 5 high-level clusters. This is called affinity mapping. You can define the clusters beforehand, or you can use affinity mapping and let them emerge. Have team members work on the clustering together, and prompt them to ask each other what they meant by certain ideas. Of course, it’s okay to add new ideas!
It makes it easier and clearer if you cluster all of the ideas. On the canvas above, you see 5 clusters. Each cluster consists of similar ideas. Cluster 1 is about the Tesla rockets, and a similar idea is flying Tesla cars. Cluster 2 is about other transportation than a car. Cluster 3 is about specific target groups, and cluster 4 about energy and robots. Cluster 5 is about connecting with kids in a fun way. When you’re done clustering, record your result. Photos make that easy to do. Send them around to the team, and don’t forget to keep them informed of future progress!
Using the Wall of Ideas Canvas will lead to many many ideas! Perhaps you’ll find some things that are not directly useful or related. A parking lot makes it easy to save those for later. But some ideas can be very creative, new and useful. It helps to make a selection of all the ideas on your wall. Select the most promising ideas to continue to work on. Do you need some help from us? Feel free to reach out anytime. We’d love to help!