This page is an output of the Itana Spring Face2Face 2016 meeting, contributed to the Itana wiki by the meeting attendees.
The process of generating and developing a pool of ideas for satisfying a need or solving a problem and sifting that pool into a workable set of useful ideas. These ideas have the support of the group that created them. Processing these ideas could involve classifying them according to some relevant framework.
We are aware of a problem or need via a strategic plan, a work request, a governance group, or some other formal or informal communication of need.
A catalyst exists for which ideas, solutions, et. al. are needed.
An undesired condition is defined (say, there are 20 versions of a technology throughout campus). EA is tasked with proposing one or more solutions/outcomes to this condition.
Many application teams want to monitor many applications and would like to have a easier way to do so.
EA is going to hold an all-day event and we want to brainstorm topics and build an agenda.
Undergraduate Advisors want to envision what a dashboard for advisors could contain and look like
An executive leader wants to replace an existing campus technology.
Campus leadership wants to enable a new capability.
A service owner needs to create, enhance, or deprecate a service
A manual process needs to be modernized using 21st century technology
A group lists a bunch of current state issues. The process may involve sorting those issues according to workflow or lifecycle stages.
Material that can be used as a source for ideas include:
Strategic Plans (business and IT)
IT Portfolio reports
Existing EA representations
IT work request system
Leadership planning retreat
This activity should include at least three aspects:
The act of gathering a lot of ideas (ideation)
The act of narrowing the list of ideas down to a manageable number of viable ideas. (winnowing)
Classifying, Clarifying, defining and/or framing the ideas
Some best practices include:
Use an Ice Breaker (“Yes, and…”, “Meet and greet”, etc.) to get the group thinking and build relationships.
Use facilitation tools (like Appreciative Interviews) to make the group comfortable and open with each other.
Be aware of how introverts and extroverts interact.
Use games and role-playing, scenarios of people using the idea to help people be spontaneous. (Role Storming )
Space is important. Be thoughtful of the space you are working in. Get people out of the normal work space.
Consider and plan for supplies and materials needed to complete the exercise.
Have a scribe and a neutral facilitator if possible.
Consider and plan for recording the output and distributing it to participants.
Tap a diversity of perspectives (people, backgrounds, experiences) to capture a breadth of ideas
Mix “I” time (periods for people to think on their own) and group time.
Break people into small teams and have them work independently for a while to prevent groupthink.
Be explicit that this is a safe place. No criticizing ideas. “Yes, and...” type of input rather than “No, not...”.
Make sure you set ground rules and use facilitation practices to make sure everyone gets a voice.
Be explicit about the constraints that bound the ideas or solutions.
Be careful of seeding the topic with a preformed idea or example that will limit creativity. (Don’t say, “Think of an animal like a whale” say, “Think of an animal”)
Some well known techniques for ideation and or narrowing include:
Clustering (Post-its gathered and sorted into clusters of ideas)
Brainstorming is not recommended due to the propensity for groupthink
The outcome of this exercise, is a narrowed list of possible solutions, objects, goals, or outcomes. The items in the list might additionally be classified
Architecture Leadership > Generating Ideas