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        Organizing for Innovation | Lesson Plan

        Students undertake the task of organizing their ideas by grouping individual ideas together into clusters of related content in this lesson plan from NOVA Education. Once the organization process is complete, the students generate a list of criteria that they then use to judge the viability of their ideas in the real world.

        Lesson Summary

        In order to be successful, innovators must produce products that are viable. In this lesson, students will learn mechanisms by which to filter their ideas and narrow their focus to select only the best, most viable potential innovations for further strategic development.

        This is the second lesson in a four-part collection entitled "The Design Process: From Idea to Solution."

        Time Allotment

        45 minutes - 90 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        • Students will learn to systematically organize ideas for innovation.
        • Students will learn to create criteria they can use to judge the potential success of their ideas.

        Prep for Teachers

        At this time, students should be seated in groups, and should have a large quantity of unfiltered ideas written on Post-it notes, which they generated during a prior lesson.

        Note: If this lesson is being taught in absence of the other lessons in this series, then you will have to generate and provide the Post-it note ideas.

        Students should have access to a large open surface. This surface can be a wall, a tabletop, or a series of desktops. The groups will use this space to organize their ideas.


        • A large quantity of ideas written on Pos-it notes
        • Canvas space for organization
        • Canvas space for instructor
        • Pencils
        • Erasers

        Introductory Activity


        Learning Activities


        Students should organize their ideas into clusters of related content, just as in the video. It is up to the students to determine which ideas are related to each other, but they should be able to explain and defend their reasoning.

        Allow 10-20 minutes.

        Opening Up to the Class

        After the students have organized their own ideas in groups, they should come together as a class, and cluster all ideas together. Lead this process, helping groups to define clusters, to collaborate, and to unite their output into one class-wide pool. The resulting clusters should be posted on a canvas the front of the classroom space.

        Allow 10-25 minutes.

        Defining Criteria

        Once the class has successfully clustered their ideas, students must begin the process of defining criteria against which the quality of their ideas can be judged. Lead the entire class as they work together to build a reasonable list of criteria. Examples of reasonable criteria include:

        • Feasbility  
        • Usefulness
        • Profitability 
        • Sustainability
        • Ethics

        Allow 10-20 minutes.  

        Applying Criteria

        Next, students should consider idea(s) that fit their stated criteria, and should elect their favorites for further development. Encourage students to re-group based on their interest in/enthusiasm for particular ideas.

        Allow 10-20 minutes.


        This process of filtering ideas by organizing, clustering, and applying relevant criteria helps innovators to devote energy to the development of particularly robust, potentially valuable ideas. Once complete, students will be ready for the strategy mapping process, which will define how their innovative ideas realistically manifest to reach the end user.


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