Generate ideas and develop a prototype for early-stage testing
To invent something is to “create or design something that has not existed before” (Oxford Dictionary). Although invention is often associated with ‘lightbulb’ moments, it is more frequently the result of a structured process involving different stakeholders. In fact, the more input you get from a diverse group of stakeholders, the more likely you are to create something that solves the problem effectively and is valued by those most affected.
In a study of 11 global companies, the British Design Council identified a two-stage process of divergence and convergence that is common to innovation, known as the ‘Double Diamond’. The word ‘divergent’ literally means “to develop in different directions” (Oxford Dictionary) and so divergent thinking requires a mix of people with different expertise and backgrounds. Convergence is the process of filtering and distilling multiple strands of thought into one proposition.
In the Recognition stage, you went through the first stage of divergence and convergence, when you first sought to explore initial impressions, ask questions and find answers that helped you gain new insights on the problem, and you then brought that information together, converging your new learning into a Challenge Brief.
If you did not manage to find a solution that closely matched your problem in the Search stage, you might have already started to think about finding the right expertise to help solve your problem. You will now move into the second phase of divergence and convergence, generating ideas and exploring multiple potential solutions before developing a Minimum Viable Solution.