Creative + technical: maximizing packaging ideation sessions

PTI Ideation Lightbulb brainstorming creative Adobe photo stock cropThere have been many instances where a design team has created a packaging concept that cannot be manufactured in a commercially viable way. Or other instances where key stakeholders are not pulled in early enough in the development timeline and the package development suffers.

The ideal approach is to bring creative and technical team members together at the beginning of the process, during the ideation sessions in order to get end up with a concept that not only can entice consumers, but also can actually be manufactured.

The ideation session invitation should be extended to all stakeholders.  Potentially, this could include brand teams, marketing, engineering, technical, production and procurement.  Each participant is going to view the project from his or her professional bias. Important considerations can be brought to the forefront early in the process to avoid costly retracing of steps and negative impact to the commercialization timeline.

Here are some additional considerations to make your ideation session as productive as possible:

Establish clear goals and objectives.  Make sure that you have a clear vision of the packaging purpose and function. Communicate this prior to the session to help the participants prepare for the exercise.

Hire a skilled, unbiased facilitator. If the right questions aren’t asked, the output won’t be ideal.  The facilitator’s main goal is to bring the best ideas out of each participant, prevent the conversation from being derailed and to remove any corporate politics from the discussion.

Visuals. Invite someone who is good at sketching so that ideas tPTI Barb Balyeat crop ideationhat are being suggested can “come to life” for consideration.

Packaging that inspires. Ask participants to come to the meeting with examples of inspiring packages.  Oftentimes, this can lead to creative thinking about the current project.

Set a specific length of time.  Too long of a session, or one without efficient breaks, can be tiring and frustrating.  It doesn’t enhance creativity and can actually detract from it.

Focus on finding a solution. Too many times meeting participants get derailed by design constraints. This can prevent them from being solutions driven.  Having the right focus will help set the tone and inspire creativity.

When projects are inclusive, everyone has an emotional and professional stake in the outcome.  A team approach is the fastest and best way for commercialize a new package that not only represents the best the company can offer, but also stands a higher chance of being profitable.

Author: Barb Balyeat is the Director of Project Management at PTI. She has 15 years of experience in preform and container design and optimal material selection for package performance.

PTI is recognized as a global source for preform and package design, package development, rapid prototyping, pre-production prototyping, and material evaluation engineering for the plastic packaging industry. For more information:

Image courtesy EtiAmmos/Adobe

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