double-diamond Using the double diamond

Sometimes you need a process to break out of the everyday and find solutions. Use this approach to identify new ideas and expand on them.

While we like to think of leadership as always looking to the future and defining the vision and destination for our organizations, sometimes leaders need a little help in getting there. How do you envision a new future landscape if you are stuck in the "day to day" operations of your organization?

Sometimes, leaders need a little help to generate new ideas and form that future vision. I find the double diamond method can be an effective tool to identify new ideas and expand on them.

Start with the single diamond

The double diamond method derives from a simpler model often used in brainstorming sessions. The single diamond framework breaks up the ideation process into two phases: "Open" and "Focus." Start by setting a context for the issue you want to address, then generate possible solutions using these steps:

image of single diamond

Single diamond method

1. Put all ideas on the table in the Open phase

Don't worry about filtering ideas at this step. If you have an idea, put it down. In the Open phase, the goal is to generate new ideas.

2. Identify your best ideas in the Focus phase

Some ideas will be better than others, and some ideas are good ideas but for a different time. I usually tackle the Focus phase in two parts: remove the ideas that won't work, and promote the ideas that will work.

Expand ideas with the double diamond

image of double diamond

Double diamond method

The "single diamond" method may not give a single answer, but it will help narrow your options to the best two or three ideas. To build out these ideas to become solutions for your organization, you need to expand on them using the double diamond approach.

The double diamond builds on the single diamond approach, intentionally narrowing options to a short list of the best ideas. From there, you use another "diamond" cycle to further develop the ideas.

1. Open with new ideas

Like the single diamond method, start by listing all available options. Capture the ideas as they come to you; don't filter the ideas or worry about what will work and what won't.

2. Narrow the options

Identify the best ideas and filter out any ideas that aren't a good fit for your environment or organization. The aim in this phase is to narrow the options and identify the best ideas.

3. Expand on each

Build out each idea to explore them further. In this phase, you might perform additional analysis including costs, skills needed, resource availability, and timelines.

4. Focus to your best option

After you've expanded on each of the ideas, you can further evaluate them to identify the best option moving forward. Depending on the project, you might instead narrow the options to just a few most viable options.