Everyone has ideas and loves to share them and this tool is for everyone to generate as many ideas as possible. There are no ‘bad’ ideas, just some that are better than others. Quantity of ideas, thinking as creatively as possible, and building on the ideas of other design team members is positively encouraged. Generating ideas is usually high-energy activity, be positive and don’t shut down others ideas.


what is it

The Ideation First Burst Map is a visual map of the initial ideas and solutions that are identified following research and empathy building during the Inspiration phase of design thinking.



why is it important

Co-creating ideas together is a way for everyone in the wider design team to contribute their ideas following the research and empathy phase. The First Burst allows people to be creative, explain their ideas, and begin to discuss them. This helps build empathy and buy-in from participants and is a powerful tool to show wider stakeholders that individual issues are part of the bigger, wider picture that the design challenge is addressing.



how to do it

  1. Position the First Burst Map on a wall space where the team can gather around it.
  2. Use the ‘How Might We’ statement cards and ‘Vision Cards’ to stimulate focus.
  3. Silently get the design team to brainstorm their ideas for answers and solutions. Note each point on a separate post-it note with a marker pen writing just enough for others to understand. It is good to set a short time limit for the first ideas to stimulate ‘speed of ideas’, we are looking for quantity not quality at this stage.
  4. Share the tams post-it notes on the First Burst Map, making them all visible, taking turns to quickly explain to them as post-it notes are posted on the wall. Don’t critique ideas at this stage but ask enough questions to explain what the idea is about.
  5. Group and cluster the idea post-it notes into groups, with notes that seem to be related together. Put duplicates on top of each other – this shows which ideas are popular.
  6. Continue until everyone is satisfied with the groupings. Label the groupings that emerge. You may be left with lone post-it notes but that is usual.
  7. Label each of the themes with a different colour post-it and draw a line or box around the grouping to identify and separate its content from the other groupings.
  8. Write any key questions or discussion points on post-it notes, one per note, and post them in a separate area for later reference.
  9. Capture the complete First Burst Map with photos as a record
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