At the end of the ideation part of the workshop, have the team members briefly talk through their individual ideas. Have them take their Post-it notes and place them on a flip chart or other surface that everyone can see. Get through this process quickly. You don’t need master’s dissertations.
Start to group the Post-its together if two or more people have a similar idea. Once everyone has their individual ideas posted, have the groups come up and finish “grouping” them into common categories, which they should then name. Pick the person who is clearly the most passionate about the idea to give it a descriptive name, and sum up the concept in a sentence. Get rid of any duplicate ideas at this point, and get to the core list of ideas.
Why is this reset important? Your subconscious will continue to work on it, even when you are not aware of it. In the mid-1800s Elias Howe was struggling to invent a machine that could industrialize sewing, just as the new spinning and weaving machines had revolutionized the textile industry. He tried for years to create a machine that could stitch two layers of fabric together, but he could not find a solution. One night he fell into a deep sleep, and had an exceptionally vivid dream that spear-carrying savages were attacking him. When he looked at the spears, he noticed a hole in the tip of each spear. Eureka! The next morning he began work on a sewing machine with a needle that was threaded through the sharp tip rather than its rounded end, and his invention led to a complete shift in how clothing was manufactured, marketed, and purchased.
Howe’s idea may seem like it came out of nowhere, but in reality his subconscious had done the work of making the connections between everything he had been observing and thinking about. Like Howe, you sometimes need to just let the brain do what it wants to do and not stress about thinking about things all the time. If nothing is coming to you, step away from the process and let your mind relax before you try again.