The 'What If' Ideation Method


The 'What If' method is a simple ideation tool based on asking open-ended questions within a constrained amount of time. It can help a small team rapidly generate a volume of ideas that can then be grouped and prioritised, ready for following up.

The method involves 4 simple steps, all of which are detailed and drawn up for you in our template.

What is it useful for?

The 'What If' method is a game that anyone can pick up and play. It's particularly great as a structure for a brainstorm. Gather some people (between 2-6 is ideal) and the template will lead you to generate great ideas together.

What kinds of problems does it solve?

The beauty of this tool is its super-flexible application. It can be used to crack big challenges open such as "what's the future for my business?". It can also be used to form responses to smaller, more contained questions such as "what shall we do for the Xmas party?". If you've got a problem to solve, that demands some breakthrough ideas in response, the 'What If' method is a great place to start!

How does it work?

The instructions in the template will walk you through it. In short, all you need is a group of people and 60 minutes. You'll begin by focusing in on a 'How Might We' question before generating ideas individually using the 'What If' open questioning technique. You'll then regroup with your friends and colleagues and begin to share, sift through and synthesise the ideas. Finally, you'll prioritise the concepts you've built together and form a view on the ideas that will be worth you pursuing.


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