I like ideations as much as the next guy. Particularly when there are good snacks. I just think they are too often treated as a cure-all. Need an innovation? Just hold an ideation. I don’t think that an isolated brainstorm once a year is the best approach for coming up with innovations. I think it works better when innovation is a constant, continuous process involving everyone.
We have something at work we call a "wikiwall", which is this massive magnetic whiteboard where we’re all constantly tacking up new ideas and building on old ones. It’s always there and ideas are inspired by all sorts of things at random times throughout the year.
There’s also this funny "find your inner hippy" dynamic that often happens in setting up an ideation. It often feels that if you set the right mood (room, props, music, snacks, etc.), the ideas will just come. This environment can feel really superficial, because when you leave the room the dynamic is often different. In the cold light of the day-to-day office, it easier and more acceptable to criticize and squash ideas, rather than find creative ways to grow and adapt them.
Anyway, I visited another company’s ideation not long ago and they’d rented jumbo beanbag chairs to place all around the room. It got me thinking of the whole ideation phenomenon, and led to this cartoon.