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Exploring ideas




30-60 minutes depending on the research data

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  • Markers and pens of different colours

  • Paper, minimum A4, or a whiteboard, or an electronic file

What is this tool and what is its purpose and benefit?


Persona is a fictional character that represents a typical customer or a user. It can be used for ideating services as it helps to explore the lifestyle, needs and motivations of a typical customer. A persona contains information such as the name, demographics, background, pains and gains, lifestyle, behaviours, needs, interests, and other relevant details about the customer that may be essential for the case. A persona is based on research results. More than one persona can be created.


Steps how to use this tool in practice

The same steps apply when working individually, in pairs or in a group.


Start by identifying different types of typical users and customers from the research data. You may use the affinity diagram technique for this purpose as it makes it easier to group similar and connected issues together. A quick way to find personas from the research material is to write different characteristics on sticky notes and group them together.  You may develop, for example, 3-5 different types of customers, or as many as needed as indicated from the research data.


Start creating the persona or personas. Download the template for this. For each persona, write:

  1. The name

  2. Demographics: age, gender, marital status, children (how many), pets (what kind and how many)

  3. Profession and educational background

  4. Lifestyle and living conditions (e.g. wealth, house type)

  5. Hobbies, interests and leisure

  6. Values and attitudes

  7. Motivations and goals

  8. Frustrations and pains

  9. Needs

  10. Any other information that might be relevant to the case

You can also find a picture to represent the persona. You can use narration to describe your person. Make the persona as realistic and credible as possible.


Verify your persona with the research data.


Start the ideation using personas by selecting one or more of the ideation tools, such as brainstorming or SCAMPER, and taking into account the challenge to address. A persona makes you reflect on the customer and all of customer’s needs, challenges and opportunities at the ideation phase helping you to create more targeted ideas.


When ready, pass the results to the next phase for evaluation and selection.

Tips and hints for using this tool

  • When creating a persona you can think of it as a character from a book or a film to make it as realistic as possible.

  • You can also create personas of typical non-customers and compare typical customers and non-customers.

Other tools of this phase

An active and exploratory way to generate ideas


An inspiration board for ideating solutions

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A group ideation tool


A fictional description of a typical customer.


Creating ideas together with customers and stakeholders.

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An ideation matrix of service aspects..

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The must, should, could and won’t haves of a service.


Soliciting the expertise of the crowd.


A visual map of existing solutions to the identified problem.

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A visual idea generation diagram.

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Generating ideas quietly and getting inspired by others.

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