The Idea Bridge ideation tool

If you’ve ever been in an ideation workshop you’ll appreciate that some people thrive in coming up with ideas whilst others can’t help themselves from meeting every idea with a “how will that work” or “that’s impossible because…”.

It’s easy to dismiss those people as blockers, but in exactly the same way that it’s unhelpful to block every idea before they have been given time to be considered, an endless stream of impractical ideas is equally unhelpful because, although it seems as though you generated loads of ideas, we can’t progress with any of them.

The Idea Bridge is a perfect tool for these instances. There are only two rules; everyone participates and, this is the clever one, it’s done in silence – No verbal (or indeed, for the same reason, non-verbal) communication is allowed!

It uses the concept that each side of our brains are used for specific tasks and people often have a bias towards one side or the other. The left side helps us process language, logic and mathematical computations. The right side mainly helps us with visual imagery, creativity and ideas.

It’s called the idea bridge because we anchor the bridge on the left with the constraints that we have to work with and on the right with the objective and challenge for the innovations we need. The right brain thinkers write ideas on green sticky-notes on the right side, the left brain thinkers write questions and potential obstacles on yellow and constraints on red / pink sticky-notes.

As we work through these ideas and constraints we are building the bridge from both sides. We then link ideas with constraints with a line – the spars that suspend the bridge.

It’s fascinating what happens when we take verbal communication out of the workshop process. Here’s the instructions to follow (click the image to download an A3 instruction sheet). I would love to hear your stories of how it worked.