Stages of Idea Development – Digital Promise

Stages of Idea Development

Through idea development, a developer or creator is able to flesh out their ideas and come up with concepts that can be implemented in real world situations by understanding people’s needs and problems.

Idea development/optimization is a step-by-step process through which a pool of ideas is refined by identifying the specific elements of an idea that create the greatest impact. Idea development is simply about implementing different ways of exploring ideas and composing solutions that best solve the problem in the most effective manner.

Stages of Idea Development

While the stages of idea development may vary across industries and businesses, they all rely on a similar process to advance an idea into reality. Iggi & Gabi (23rd March 2011) break down idea development into four phases which we will apply in the development of AR. The four phases include: Inspiration, Incubation, Illumination and Implementation.

Inspiration Phase

This is when a creator/developer comes up with an idea and will likely have more than one to consider. In order to flesh out an idea and settle on the most relevant idea,  one can implement certain guiding strategies, such as:

  • Brainstorming
  • Mind Mapping
  • SCAMPER technique
  • Reverse Thinking
  • Collaboration


This process involves assessing one’s ideas whether as an individual or a group to settle on an idea that can be a solution to a specific problem. A brainstorm is usually a “brain dump” of different possibilities for the project, without judgement of its relevance to the subject matter.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping involves creating a visual representation how ideas are related to each other. It allows the creator to assess all ideas from a visual point of view and select which are most relevant.

Mind mapping can be fun because it encourages creators to color code, doodle, and find other creative ways to represent their ideas. It creates a mental picture of relationships that are all rooted into the main agenda/idea.

SCAMPER technique

Developed by Bob Eberie, the acronym stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate and Reverse.

This technique allows one to judge their ideas in reference to already existing solutions/products and consider improving upon them or innovating new solutions. The assessment is conducted by developing questions guided by the SCAMPER prompts.

This process will allow creators to settle on a relevant idea easily because the process helps illuminate what will work for the existing market or intended audiences.

Reverse Thinking

In this technique, a creator/developer focuses on the possibility of failure. Instead of looking at how best the ideas will work, the creator analyzes ideas in reference to which ideas are likely to fail.

This process gives creators a chance to derive a working idea by eliminating the most likely to fail in reference to the market/potential areas of implementation for their ideas.


This process involves a creator leaving their comfort zone and working with people from different backgrounds, knowledge-bases, skills, and experiences to assess their ideas from different perspectives.

This method is important in generating ideas because it is inclusive. By combining different insights, a creator can reach a conclusion that addresses a wide variety of issues.

Incubation Phase

In developing your idea, create time to analyze the idea selected in phase one.

At this phase, a creator is able to create a plan on how to develop their idea, understand the best app or methods to use to make the idea a reality, as well as determine the best opportunities/industries or context to implement the idea.

Each and every solution/design that a creator considers has to have a plan of execution with the target user in mind. The plan acts as a guide to both the innovator/creator and the teams involved in fleshing out the idea. The plan helps make the product a reality and useful to the target market or audience.

Illumination Phase

In the words of Scott Barry Kaufman, “connections automatically, subconsciously collide and then reach the threshold of consciousness.” This is the processing/evaluation phase where the creator is able to assess their idea in reference to the plan developed in phase two. They are able to identify weaknesses and work on how best to mitigate them by conducting a critical assessment of their ideas ideas. They also explore all possible ways to create it as well as implement it. Questions to consider include “Why would you not develop it?” and “Why would your target audience/consumer not use it?”  This is the stage where the tools to be used and their features are considered in reference to the goal.

Implementation Phase

Stop thinking and start working — this is the creation phase. At this stage the creator develops what they have already assessed, what you know the market/context is ready for, and what will be usable.

Test your creation and allow others to test it as well to ensure that your developed experience has eliminated most  weaknesses and/or has addressed all areas of constructive feedback.

Back to Idea Development

Sign Up For Updates! Email icon

Sign up for updates!