How do you recognise a good idea?

Innovate to Save’s Generating Ideas workshop (5 and 6 April, 2017) was designed to give participants some practical tools and advice to help shape project ideas, with a focus on the needs and involvement of the people that use their services. In this post, we’re sharing some top tips and resources from that workshop.

Why generating ideas is important

Thinking up exciting new ideas is often the fun and easy part of a project. But how do you pick the best one to take forward? How do you know which one will have the most impact? Will the people who use your service benefit from your idea once it is implemented?

Taking a step back and deciding what result you really want, and which ideas will get you there is the tricky part. Putting the people who use your services at the heart of service design work helps ensure that they are both useful and used.

Top 5 tips for generating ideas

  1. Define the problem - once you understand the problem you can start to look for a solution. Be specific and be careful to question assumptions.

  2. Put people at the heart of the design process - work to understand their needs over and above the organisation’s. Create detailed ‘personas’ to help you think about your work from your user’s point of view.

  3. Understand your users and their problems. Understanding who your problem affects and how it affects them enables you to begin to put together suitable solutions. Undertake role swapping exercises or map out your users’ ‘journey’ through your public service to help you understand their experiences.

  4. Work to a brief - it will help you remain on course AND provide a basis upon which to evaluate.

  5. Understand the potential impact of your ideas by taking time to consider the relationship between what you (intend to) do and the people you are doing it for. Surveys, focus groups and interviews with your service users and the promises and potential map below are good places to start.

Top tools and resources to help generate ideas

More about the workshop and Innovate to Save

Innovate to Save has been set up to support new ideas that have the potential to generate cashable savings for Welsh public services and improve the quality of service delivery. The programme places as much emphasis on providing the right support and tools to develop robust project proposals as it does the funds to allow organisations to achieve change. During phase 1 of the programme the support on offer takes the form of a series of workshops that have been designed to support different parts of the application form to participate in the R&D phase of Innovate to Save. Read more about the programme.

The slides from this workshop can be found here.

If you’d like to find out more about the workshops or the Innovate to Save programme, please get in touch:

Angharad: [email protected] / 029 2251 0320

Amy: [email protected] / 029 22 510124


Angharad Dalton

Angharad Dalton

Angharad Dalton

Programme Manager, Y Lab

Angharad is the Programme Manager for Innovate to Save

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Amy Richards

Amy Richards

Amy Richards

Assistant Programme Manager, Y Lab

Amy was an Assistant Programme Manager at Y Lab.

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