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Ideation is the Cognitive and creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas, where an idea is understood as a basic element of thought that can be either visual, concrete, or abstract.[1] Ideation comprises all stages of a thought cycle, from innovation, to development, to actualization.[2] As such, it is an essential part of the design process, both in education and practice.[3]

Methods of innovationEdit

Methods of innovation include:[4]

Problem solution
This is the most simple method of progress, where someone has found a problem and as a result, solves it.
Derivative idea
This involves taking something that already exists and changing it.
Symbiotic idea
A symbiotic method of idea creation is when multiple ideas are combined, using different elements of each to make a whole.
Revolutionary idea
A revolutionary idea breaks away from traditional thought and creates a brand new perspective. For example, Marxism (an evolutionary form of Hegelianism), or the writings of Copernicus (a development of classical Greek thought).
Serendipitous discovery
Serendipitous solutions are ideas which have been coincidentally developed without the intention of the inventor. For example, the discovery of penicillin.
Targeted innovation
Creating a targeted innovation deals with a direct path of discovery. This is often accompanied by intensive research in order to have a distinct and almost expected resolution. For example, linear programming.
Artistic innovation
Artistic innovation disregards the necessity for practicality and holds no constraints.
Philosophical idea
The philosophical idea lives in the mind of the creator and can never[citation needed] be proven. This type of idea however can still have vast residual effects. For example, the idea of eternal recurrence.
Computer-assisted discovery
This uses a computer in order to widen possibilities of research and numeric possibilities.

See alsoEdit


  1. Jonson, 2005, page 613
  2. Graham and Bachmann, 2004, pg 54
  3. Broadbent, in Fowles, 1979, page 15
  4. Graham and Bachmann, 2004, Chapter 3


  • Jonson, B (2005) Design Ideation: the conceptual sketch in the digital age. Design Studies Vol 26 No 6 pp 613–624.
  • Graham, D and Bachmann, T., (2004) Ideation: The Birth and Death of Ideas. John Wiley and Sons Inc.
  • Fowles, R A (1979) Design Methods in UK Schools of Architecture. Design Studies Vol 1 No 1 pp 15–16
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