Ideate is an innovation method to form an idea and imagine or conceive how it might be applied in practice

Uses of the method

  • Challenges existing mental models
  • Examines potential alternatives
  • Reduces possibility of surprise


  • Potential for breakout thinking
  • Helps check if new information received confirms or denies previous thinking


  • Closed minds may still refute contra evidence

Steps to complete

  • Judge the meaning of a new piece of evidence in terms of what might result in the future
  • What's your biggest roadblock in dealing with this change? IGNORE IT!
  • Reverse the change and look to play on fields where no one else is
    1. What does the idea enhance?
    2. What does the idea make obsolete?
    3. What does the idea retrieve that had been obsolesced earlier?
    4. What does the idea flip into when pushed to extremes?
    5. How could the idea be reversed?
    6. Use mathematical operators to grow, diminish or change the idea
  • Step in the shoes of another analyst(s) with different views and judge the meaning they would give in terms of what might result in the future
  • Ask how likely it is you would be aware of new information emerging on these futures
  • Identify which of these futures will likely produce different new information
  • Drop any that have the same likelihood of the same new information emerging, are duplicated or inconsistent
  • Look for further evidence to deny a particular future
  • Now add ideas to prototype those that remain in terms of your ability to run a pilot, divide into phased tests, offer concrete outcomes, are reversible if not successful, fit with strategies and investments, are familiar and/or produce reputation enhancement
  • Propose your idea and detail the embryonic strategy and implementation plan 
  • Determine the fixed elements (almost certain hard trends) that will inform your strategic response: slow-changing phenomena e.g. demographic shifts, constrained situations e.g. resource limits, in the pipeline e.g. aging of baby boomers, inevitable collisions e.g. climate change arguments
  • Capture critical variables i.e. uncertainties, soft trends and potential surprises. Both these and the fixed elements will be key to creating scenarios and examining potential future paradigm shifts
  • Add transformative visions based on the above that could come to pass then draw your conclusions and determine if any further research required
  • What conclusions can we draw from the exercise(s)?
    • How might the future be different?
    • How does A affect B?
    • What is likely to remain the same or change significantly?
    • What are the likely outcomes?
    • What and who will likely shape our future?
    • Where could we be most affected by change?
    • What might we do about it?
    • What don't we know that we need to know?
    • What should we do now, today?
    • Why do we care?
    • When should we aim to meet on this?
  • Then use the rating tools here to determine where this idea fits in your innovation portfolio and DECIDE whether to Act now! etc.

This method and your response can be shared with other members or kept private using the 'Privacy' field and through the 'Tag', 'Report' and 'Forum' functionalities. Use 'Tag' and/or 'Report' to aggregate your analyzes, or add a 'Forum' to ask others where they agree/disagree and encourage them to make their own analysis from their unique vantage point.

Click the 'Invite tab to send invitations to other members or non-members (colleagues, external experts etc.) to ask for their input. You can whether or not you want anonymous responses.  These can be viewed and exported within the Responses tab.

Further reference

Contact us
Even with all the advice and tools we have provided here starting a foresight project from scratch can be a daunting prospect to a beginner. Let us know if you need help with this method or want a group facilitation exercise or full project or program carrying out by us. We promise to leave behind more internal knowledgeable people who can expand your initiative for better organizational performance

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