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Gut Check

You’ve been generating a ton of ideas. Here’s a chance to look at them critically and figure out what to pursue, what to evolve, and what to discard.


Suggested Time

30-60 Minutes

Level of Difficulty


Materials Needed

Pens, paper


Design team

Process Phase

The Ideation Phase is about coming up with as many innovative ideas as possible, often with less emphasis to plausibility or implementation. At IDEO.org, this approach certainly leads to more creative thinking, but we also know that some of our more far-out ideas are probably better left on the drawing board. This Gut Check exercise can help you look at your ideas through a more critical lens and help you decide which ideas truly merit pursuing.


  1. Have a look at your most promising ideas and try to distill them down to their essences. For example, if your idea is about redesigning the patient experience in a health clinic, the core idea might be achieving more patient privacy.
  2. Now, list all the constraints and barriers that stand in your way. Put them on Post-its and display them for everyone to see. Don’t feel daunted if the list is long. Constraints make for great design!
  3. This might be a great time to have a quick Brainstorm about how to evolve your idea within the constraints you just listed. How can you keep the core of your idea but push it so that it remains within your capabilities?
  4. Don’t be afraid of letting an idea go. The Gut Check is designed to help you make the most promising ideas real.