- Setting up the process
- Gathering ideas
- use Google Docs, TypeForm or InfraNodus
- short descriptions and phrases suffice
- Mindmapping the overview of ideas
- Import the ideas into infraNodus
- Visualize the Graph
- Note the main concept nodes
- Note the main topical clusters to find convergence points
- Use the AI to generate the names for the topics
- Explore the nuance
- Look at the periphery
- "Reveal the Non-Obvious"
- Filter by categories
- Synthesize all ideas
- Use the Project Notes tab to note your insights
- Use the "Paraphrase AI" to create a summary of the graph
- Write a new text based on the two points above
- Compare it to the original one to make sure you're not missing anything important
Step 1: Set Up your Process
The first step is to define a setup for your ideation workshop. In our experience, it works best when there are about 3 to 8 participants in a group, preferably coming from different fields and backgrounds to ensure heterogeneity of ideas. The meeting can take place online (over Google Meet or Zoom) or offline. It can last about 3 hours and be comprised of the 3 general parts:
1) gathering ideas
2) mind mapping
A topic should be defined before the meeting so that the participants have a moment to prepare (e.g. “What are the main objectives of this residency?” or “What values would we like to promote?” or “What do we want to write about?”.
Step 2: Gathering Ideas
The first step is to gather ideas. A group can gather for a 1-hour brainstorming session where every participant writes their ideas on a digital whiteboard, online form (e.g. Typeform), or into a Google Doc document. It’s better to categorize those ideas by the participants so that we know who came up with specific ideas. E.g.:
Note, that it’s recommended at this point to write in statements, not focusing too much on writing a text. Just noting ideas down.
One can also use separate text documents to avoid getting influenced by each other.
Step 3: Mindmapping Ideas to Identify Convergent Topics
Once these ideas are in, we can import them into InfraNodus software, which will apply network analysis and text analysis methods to the text in order to reveal the most important keywords and results.
InfraNodus works by converting a text into a network, where the words are the nodes and their co-occurrences are the connections between them. This process produces a mind map where the most important ideas and the relations between them are highlighted.
The ideas can be imported by copying and pasting them from the document in a simple text form. We recommend tagging each idea block with the name of the person who generated them in order to be able to later filter the results:
Once we add all the ideas to the graph, we can see the totality of concepts proposed as a network. The most important ones will have a bigger size, and those that tend to appear together will be closer to each other and have the same color. The connections between the concepts used in the same context will be highlighted.
This lets us see intersections between the most important topics that emerged in the ideation process and the relations between them:
We can use these topics and categories identified in order to see where the different ideas intersect and also — how they differ.
For instance, in the example above the group converged on the topics of art practices and communal living as being important during the ideation process. So if we want to produce consensus, we can take these into account in order to ensure that all the most important ideas generated during the ideation process are integrated.
Step 4: Exploring the Nuance
While the graph is a great tool to help us find the intersection points and convergent topics, it is also important to keep track of nuance.
There are several ways to do that with InfraNodus.
Firstly, we can look at the periphery in order to not lose track of important nuances:
Secondly, we can use the "Reveal the Non-Obvious" button, which removes the most influent words / nodes from the graph in order to show what's missing:
As we can see, new topics emerge. Some of them were not visible before. For instance, the concept of resource sharing is becoming more prominent, which may be interesting for us to integrate into the main discourse.
Finally, we can also filter the graph by categories (which indicate the people).
Each text block that we imported had a tag of a person that it relates to. Now we can use the filter at the top panel to see the part of the discourse that relates to that person and compare the discourses of different people in order to see how they are similar or different:
Step 5: Synthesizing Ideas
Now that we gathered and mind-mapped all the ideas, we can synthesize our findings and create a short summary that will incorporate all the main topics present within our discourse.
In order to do that, we can use the GPT-3 based “Paraphrase” feature in the Analytics panel or simply make notes based on our observations and save them in the Project Notes:
We can then use these notes to write a new text and use the built-in “Compare Graph” feature in order to see if we sufficiently covered all the main ideas present within the original graph. In order to do that, add a new text as a new graph, then go to “Compare Graph”, choose “difference” overlay and choose the original graph to compare.
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