1. Extreme Cards
What I call extreme cards are perfect for ideation sessions. They are cards on which you’ve written questions that your ideation process should answer. Strive for some extreme questions that would help you to break the ice and understand your product and business context better.
At some point, you’ll realize that you cannot design everything yourself. In fact, most of the time you should not try to design everything yourself. You are a designer, not an artist. You are not creating your own personal masterpiece. So it is vital that you incorporate other colleagues into the design process. Product managers need to understand and convey where the product is heading. Developers can give you insights into other simpler, more feasible ways in which you can design the product. People in Sales are frequently more familiar with user feedback than you are. Each of these roles has its own mindset and ideas. During ideation sessions, it is best to include people who have mindsets that are different from your own—that is, people who work in other disciplines.
Extreme cards are a great tool for getting a quick understanding of the ideation process and its possibilities and keeping everyone on the team on the same page. Write down each of your questions on a different card, then mix them up so there is no clear structure. When you are ideating, adding this bit of randomness contributes to your creative mood.
When you go for extreme questions, this will help you to uncover issues that you would not otherwise have discovered. For example: “What if we built the most expensive product and completely redesigned and changed every single feature of our existing product?” Short answer: “We’d go broke and lose our jobs.” Delve a little more deeply. “Okay, so how far can we go without that happening?” “What is the extent to which we can change the product’s features and structure?”
Here’s another example: “What is the worst product we could build?” You could then follow up this question by asking questions about what features your users use least. Could you remove them?
Another example: “What is the shortest time in which we could complete our work?” “What would we do if that time got cut in half?”
Try asking such questions to deepen your understanding of the problems you’re trying to solve. It’s always better to expect the worst today rather than getting caught off guard tomorrow, right?