With the exception of the Responsive Innovation approach, collection is the first step of ideation. I am not going to go into how to generate ideas, because this is different for everyone. Some people come up with ideas when they drive, some in the coffee shop, others while tending to their garden. To attempt to structure creative idea generation is a no win proposition. Rather the organization should focus on the effective collection of ideas from those that generate them whether they be teams, individuals, etc.
Collection may differ based on the innovation approach, but the goal remains to gather in one location ideas and concepts that will then be filtered in the next step. The net or number of ideas collected is often very broad when it comes to Initiated Innovation and narrows considerably for Responsive or Directed Innovation. For example an organization wide suggestion box may be a collection point for Initiated Innovation. For Responsive Innovation it may be a senior leadership team dealing with a high level situation.
Collection should be structured so that ideas and concepts are uniformly presented. This makes filtration easier and quicker. So a balance between accessibility and uniformity must be struck in order to make collection effective. If structuring an idea is too difficult, those that generate the idea may choose not to share it. If ideas are allowed to collect in a multitude of formats, then it slows down the filtering step, jamming it up so to speak.
The next step we are going to discuss before going further is Define Situation. This is the critical difference in the Ideation stage between the Responsive Innovation Approach and the others.