Even though you mentioned that you are defining for the undefined, you would have certain restrictions such as the choice of technology, the platform you are targeting, the user base, the timeline and the budget. The steps which we try to follow are as follows:
- Highlight the problem statement (if available) or the user group you are trying to target along with the research you have which mentions that these people have a specific need
- Highlight the constraints you have such as the technology,platform etc
- Have someone as a moderator - The role of the moderator is not to curtail the ideas a person might have but to ensure that the group doesnt go along a tangent with an idea or a group of ideas which are inherently unfeasible
- Break people into groups : This can be helpful as people then can come up with ideas aided with inputs from others and also remain on course with the restrictions which might be there
- Ask each group to talk through the ideas they have and the potential impact on the product and how it might influence the user base
- Prepare a summary list of ideas
Analyze the list of ideas on basis of these categories
- Customer need and potential impact
- Alignment with the goal of the product or application
- Alignment with company goal
- Technical feasibility within timelines and budget
- Integration of ideas with each other i.e. how do they fit into the user flow as the user uses the product
Sort the list of ideas on Must haves,nice to haves and potential phase II features
- Work on creating a minimum viable product prototype for initial usability testing.
Note : I might get shouted at for insisting that you highlight the technical and timeline constraints which might restrict the creativity of the ideas but I have found that calling out the restrictions before hand itself helps the group towards generation of focussed ideas which are in sync with the potential user base or problem statement.
I also recommend looking at collaborative parallel design. To summarize the process:
- Identify a problem to work on.
- Gather together a team of participants.
- Introduce the participants to one another.
- Review the requirements and evaluation criteria for a design problem.
- Design independently for 10 minutes.
- Present all participants’ design ideas to the team, allowing each participant 5 minutes. Others can ask clarification questions, if
- This is not a critical review session! Instead, evaluate through iteration.
- Repeat the design and presentation cycle at least four times, ensuring each participant builds on at least one idea someone else has
- Have a group discussion about the final designs.