Practical Application: Selecting Ideas in Design Thinking

Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

A big part of design thinking is to come up with many different solutions to problems. But how do you then choose the best one? Practice setting up a group process for selecting ideas with these scenarios.

Selecting Ideas

The ideation stage in design thinking involves coming up with multiple solutions to problems. During that stage, it's important to brainstorm as many different ideas as possible. But what do you do once you have a huge list of ideas?

Selecting the best idea or ideas from a long list can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. The first thing to do is to establish voting criteria. This is simply a list of elements that might make an idea a good one, such as the choice most likely to delight, the rational choice, or the most unexpected choice. Establishing voting criteria focuses your team members and makes it easier for them to vote on the best options.

Next, you'll want to choose a way for your team members to vote. The table below explains a few common selection options.

Option Description
Post-It Voting Each idea is put on a post-it note. Team members place a dot on the post-it they want to vote for. Each team member gets to vote for a certain number of ideas (2 - 4 usually). This is also called 'dot voting.'
Bingo Selection Team members split ideas into different categories, including their potential to be used in a physical, digital, or experience prototype.
Affinity Diagrams Team members group similar ideas together, allowing the team to see patterns and common themes, as well as think about which ideas can be combined.
How Now Wow Team members divide ideas into three categories. 'How' ideas are innovative, but difficult to implement. 'Now' ideas are not innovative, but easy to implement. 'Wow' ideas are both innovative and easy to implement.


Read the following scenarios and think about how you would set up voting based on the best selection option from the table above.

Scenario 1: The Keyboard

Joey's team is brainstorming ideas to design a keyboard that's more intuitive to use than the QWERTY keyboard found on most computers. The ideas they've generated so far include:

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