Remote Creativity
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Remote Creativity

Discovery Flow: Uncovering Innovative Ideas Based On Global Trends

Looking for a framework to uncover new opportunities for innovation? Check out this 4-step framework to explore, ideate and discover new possibilities.

by MING Labs

Ideation sessions form an important part of any process aiming at innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. But it’s easy to lose track of the bigger picture while trying to come up with new solutions and opportunities. Workshop participants need to have the freedom to think of disruptive, never-before-seen ideas that change the business or product for the better.

Now, how can we combine the two? We at MING Labs designed the Discovery Flow template to help you explore and prioritize ideas and uncover new opportunities for innovation — all while catering to the needs of your stakeholders and incorporating relevant trends.

Head over to MING’s Discovery Flow board on Miro that contains the corresponding template with step-by-step instructions and examples of various trends:

Setting The Stage

00 Start
This part is used to simply set the stage of the conversation, check the agenda, get to know each other and agree on the workshop objectives. A good icebreaker helps to get the group ready for more exploratory and open thinking — head here for inspiration.

Step-by-Step Guide: Execution

01 Context
Start off by establishing the context. Together with your participants, discuss who the involved people or organizational entities are. Try to map their impact and think how they relate to each other.

At first, you are looking to map out all the somewhat involved stakeholders, highlight their relationships to each other with straight or dotted line connections and discuss how vital they are to the efforts you are trying to pursue with your innovation agenda.

Following that, you’ll want to map them onto a 2x2 stakeholder matrix, which looks at the key relationships the team will need to maintain, in terms of involving people regularly, keeping them informed, or bouncing ideas off of them time to time.

02 Discovery
This is a really fun part! These exercises will help you name and structure already observed pains and needs, but also uncover and map out new opportunities, by matching emerging trends with existing product and organizational knowledge.

At first your group will (ideally with thorough preparation) discuss the pains and needs of various departments and of the whole organization from various perspectives, as well as from a supplier / partner / customer perspective. These are all vital inputs of where innovation efforts could bear fruit.

Following set, select 2–3 ideation exercises, including at least one mega trend-based ideation flow, to let your creative juices flow and imagine alternative futures for your organization and key initiatives that might get you there.

03 Idea Collection
After ideating around possible opportunities for innovation in the previous section, ask the participants to select and label the most attractive ones. The outcome is a collection of promising ideas, ranked according to a set of criteria that matter most to you.

You will want each participant to only bring forward their 3–5 favorite ideas, and to elaborate on why they have specifically chosen the ones they have brought forward. This adds context to the conversation, and shows where people see the most promise and why. Give people some time in silence to collect and move their favorite ideas first, before having the discussion.

After the shortlisted ideas have been elaborated and clustered, conduct a dot-voting exercise with 2–3 dimensions (e.g. Highest Potential Impact, Lowest-Hanging Fruit, etc.) to prioritize.

04 Outro
Finally, wrap up by agreeing on next steps and responsibilities and a short feedback round about the workshop itself.


With most of us continuing to work remotely, virtual brainstorming sessions have long been added to the ‘new normal’ too. Trying to find common ground within a bigger group on relevant innovative ideas can be tough. This template is designed to make virtual ideation sessions easier for everyone, while focusing on the stakeholder’s pains and needs to ensure a relevant outcome. And we want to keep this framework open enough for you to add your personal touch: Add your own selection criteria to rank the top ideas, and find inspiration in the list of existing and emerging trends. If you’ve tried and tested the framework for yourself and your team, let us know your feedback in the comments below!

MING Labs is a leading digital business builder located in Berlin, Munich, New York City, Shanghai, Suzhou, and Singapore. We guide clients in designing their businesses for the future, ensuring they are leaders in the field of innovation. For more information, visit us at

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Related Reading: Design Principles: Towards Greater Design Maturity By Defining Your Guiding Principles

Struggling to find principles that are actually relevant to your organization and that can guide your team? Try this simple process in your next remote workshop.



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