Generate 100 Ideas in 30 Minutes

Go for quantity in your idea generation

With this method, you have several associations and constraints combined to create as many ideas as possible.


Come up with 100 ideas in 30 minutes


Designers, Architects, End-Users


45 - 60 minutes



Before You Start

Create a Problem Statement
You have created a Problem Statement in the Discover phase and you are using it here to follow up on it. If you don’t have a Problem Statement yet, we recommend to create one with the following method:

Create a Problem Statement

Prepare the Grid*
Use a whiteboard or brown paper and draw a grid that has 11 columns and 10 rows. Use the first row to define constraints or specific conditions that the ideas in that row have to meet. Write those constraints on large post-its and stick them on the board or paper.
Write a post-it with “no constraint” and stick it in the first field of the first row. It means that all ideas in the first row will have no constraints or conditions.
Add more constraints or conditions to the following rows, which are either dictated by real constraints within the project, or by made-up constraints that you come up with to inspire thinking outside the box.

Here are some more example for constraints: “has to work without extra budget”, “has to work without people”, “has to work offline”, “how would Superman solve the problem?”, “how would Winnie the Pooh solve the problem?”, “has to be illegal or forbidden”, “how would it work as a game?”.

*only needed for an in-person workshop, in a virtual workshop just use the MURAL board

Materials you will need

Templates for Virtual Collaboration

(Registration to MURAL is required)


Generating 100 ideas in 30 minutes includes several steps. We recommend completing them in one session.
  • 5 minutes

Introduce the ideation prompts

Use your Create a Problem Statementproblem statement and explain to – or discuss with – the group what they are asked to brainstorm about.

  • 30 minutes

Set the timer and start the brainstorming

As a group, try to fill the grid within 30 minutes. Everybody can add ideas to every row until it is full, i.e., 10 ideas are listed. After that, no more ideas can be added. The ideas have to fit to the given constraint or condition at the beginning of the line.

Go for quantity, not for quality!

  • 25 minutes

Cluster and vote

Take 2-3 minutes to explain the following process of the exercise to the group.
Go through each line and decide which ideas fit best to the challenge. Move those down to the clustering area. You can take all ideas, but you don’t have to. As soon as you have collected all ideas from above, cluster them to concepts. Which ideas work together the best? Try to shape rough concepts with your ideas. Feel free to duplicate ideas if they fit in several clusters. Use 20 minutes for clustering.
At the end, vote for the cluster which solves the problem statement the best (use 2-3 minutes for voting).

You're done!

If you have reached an agreement on the best idea(s) to follow up on, you can move on to the next recommended step, which is to Create an Idea Napkin.