I’ve come to really appreciate the process of “ideation” here of late…
Ideation is an emerging buzzword (c. 2004) representing the creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas, where an idea is understood as a basic element of thought that can be either visual, concrete, or abstract. As such, it is an essential part of the design process, both in education and practice. (from Wikipedia)
Idea-generation is nothing new, necessarily; it’s just a cool way to designate the time and effort necessary in planning the projects that we work on. This is how the process works for me and how it plays into a project I’m currently in the middle of:
Inspiration; This can be, quite literally, anything that gets you thinking about how to execute an idea. It might be a directive from your pastor or leader… it can be a story that you hear from a friend, or something you read about. Maybe the words to a song just beg for visuals… maybe it’s a combination of two or more if these things. Two things came together for me in this new project; it started when I heard a song by Skillet called “Monster”. Music is always an easy pathway to ideas for me; when I hear a cool song, I immediately start thinking about how to shoot a video for it.
(See/hear the song on youtube)
For me, the how comes easy; I can plan and execute a video shoot and easily dive deep into post-production… The bigger question might always be, Why? Is there a purpose for such a video and will that purpose justify the time and resources necessary to do it well? While I may love to shoot and edit, even if it’s just for fun, my boss and my church have certain expectations on my time. If I can find a worthy ‘why’, I will likely have a green light to move forward with an idea.
The second part of this idea came as I pondered the thought about monsters and what I could do with a video, and then I recalled a book that I had read a few years ago by Andy Stanley, “It Came From Within“, where he examines four issues that many of us deal with; guilt, greed, anger, and jealousy. What an amazing match! A song called “Monster” combined with a book that refers to our issues as monsters. This was starting to sound like a pretty cool thing! (Side note: Don’t ever stop reading books; you never know what will spark your next big idea!)
Since the song has a younger feel to it, I figured perhaps the best way to flesh this idea out would be to propose a series for our student ministries where they could break down each of the four monsters over 4 weeks. Then the clincher hit me; why not do something like this in the month of October when, like it or not, the whole monster-thing is rather prevalent? The truth is, even the coolest churches in America will have a group of people that are anti-Halloween… why not try to leverage what is so common in our culture and use it as a backdrop to help students deal with their own monsters? I pitched the idea to our youth pastor and he loved it!
Bottom line: While inspiration can come from many things, it takes time to really put together a good plan to bring a good idea to life.
- Pray: Ask God to give you crazy ideas that will bring Him fame
- Keep a notebook and write down everything that you can come up with (even ideas that seem silly or over your head!)
- Bounce your ideas off some one who you trust. Listen to their feedback; it will help you refine the ideas into real plans.
What does your ideation process look like?
(click HERE for part 2)