Ideation: generating more creative and impactful research ideas 2020 - 2021


Communication skills + Research & Valorization

Target group

PhD students & postdocs from any discipline at any stage of completion can take value from the course. Our tools and methodology will help first and second year PhD students to generate, develop, select and pitch  ideas for their thesis. Later stage PhD’s and post docs can use it to shape new avenues in their research portfolio and learn how to generate more impactful ideas. The stage-gate methodology to generate and select the best, most impactful ideas will be taught so participants can use it iteratively throughout their research career.


This course was developed by a team led by Prof.dr. Stefan Stremersch (including the two lecturers). Stefan holds the Desiderius Erasmus Distinguished Chair of Economics and the Chair in Marketing at the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE). Professor Stremersch's research is in the areas of innovation, marketing of technology and science, healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing, and international marketing.
His research is largely situated in high technology markets (ICT, Telecom, consumer electronics, and video games) and pharmaceuticals, and led to published articles in the major scholarly journals including, among others, the International Journal of Research in Marketing, the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science and Management Science.
Professor Stremersch has won several prestigious awards including the Harold H. Maynard Best Paper Award from the Journal of Marketing, the J.C. Ruigrok Prize for the most productive young researcher in the social sciences in the Netherlands, awarded every four years to an economist, and the Rajan Varadarajan Early Career Award from the American Marketing Association in 2008.
He also has an affiliation with IESE Business School, Barcelona, and is editorial or policy board member of several journals including the Journal of Marketing,  Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science and International Journal of Research in Marketing. For the latter journal, he served as editor together with Don Lehmann of the International Journal of Research in Marketing from 2006 to 2009. Professor Stremersch is also scientific director of the Erasmus Center for Marketing and Innovation and of the Erasmus Healthcare Business Center.
Stefan Stremersch is Managing Partner and Founder of MTI². He is a world-leading expert in innovation & marketing, both academically as well as in his advisory work with companies and public organizations.
He has frequently consulted on innovation and marketing at C-suite level, advised innovation managers and innovation project teams, and offered executive education in marketing and innovation at many multinational firms (Alcatel-Lucent, Aliaxis, Baloise, Merck, Baxter, Heraeus, KLM, Michelin, Novartis, Rabobank, SABIC, SKF, Siemens, …) for senior management. In these collaborations, he acts as the lead architect of the programs and safeguards the governance of the program in the company. He has developed award-winning innovation processes that have generated substantial business value and patent flow. For example, in 2015, the German Industry Association gave its innovation award to Merck Innospire, one of the innovation and talent-development processes designed by Stefan in 2009, together with Merck. Merck is also a Gold Stevie winner as most innovative organization of the year.


Finding good and creative research ideas is a struggle for many PhD students and postdocs early in their academic career. Some will find it difficult to find the right research question for their PhD, others will stop ideating after their first idea, and some will have many ideas but do not know which one to select. Ideation tools can help researchers to come with more and better research ideas. By the end of this workshop, participants will generate about 5 research ideas to discuss with their advisors, and present them in a standardized format.
To be able to do so, participants will be taught a process and a host of tools to generate more creative and impactful research ideas. Together with the instructors, participants will apply the tools to generate research ideas.
The workshop aims to help participants achieve their personal goals, which may be different, but often start with a great idea. This may include:
•    Writing more impactful papers (top journals, implications for policy and society, managerial relevance)
•    Having greater control over ideation
•    Finding a good idea for a research proposal
•    ... and thereby ensuring their wellbeing
The course instructors bring together unique knowledge from academia and business. There is a long tradition in academia of work on topics such as idea quality and creativity. Many tools widely used in business, such as business model canvas, jobs to be done, and design thinking step from academic work. However, there is no concise academic work explaining the process of generating impactful research ideas. Upon receiving the EMAC Distinguished Marketing Scholar Award 2020, the highest honor from the European Marketing Academy (EMAC), Prof. Stefan Stremersch was invited to write a paper for the International Journal of Research in Marketing (IJRM). Given the work with companies and research organizations, and the lack of work on explaining the process to follow to generate good research ideas in academia, Prof. Stremersch and his team have adapted the company process to academic purposes.
The seminar will train academics in ideation tools that have proven their value in companies, governments and academic institutions for 20+ years, adapted to the specific context of generating impactful research ideas for young scholars. Through their consulting work, the instructors have applied this process and ideation tooling in multinationals such as Air France-KLM, Michelin, Nokia, Siemens, including many science based companies (with several PhDs working within them) such as Baxter, Merck, Novartis, and Takeda. Several tools have also been applied together with academic institutions such as Ghent University, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and Metals Consortium.  

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Learning objectives

By the end of the workshop, you will have learned:
•    A clear process and tools for each step of the process to get inspired, generate, discuss and select ideas.
•    Different ways to find inspiration for your research, depending on your research goals and interests.
•    How to develop a higher number and more creative research ideas using hands-on tools and methods.
•    A stage-gate methodology to select the best, most impactful ideas that you can use iteratively throughout your research career.
•    How to pitch ideas to your supervisor/advisor/colleague in a clear and coherent way.

Dates & Programme

We offer a hands-on ideation training for young researchers to help them develop more and better research ideas. The development of this training is based on academic research and collaborations with the educational and business world.
We work around a well-defined and actionable methodology. We work together to learn the tools and process, and apply it in 4 weeks. Having learned the tools and process, you can then apply in the future to your needs and follow your own timeline.
The training consists of a 4-step-approach aiming to end the training program with new and better research ideas: an inspiration phase, an idea generation phase, a selection phase and a pre-initiation phase. Each phase provides some tools and methodologies to support the participant to achieve the objectives of each phase.
The program of this ideation training is built up around the 4 phases, and therefore consists of 4 contact moments of 3 hours. After each contact moment, we ask the participant to work with the material provided and to apply it to their own research. From the 2nd session onwards, prior to a workshop in which new tools are explained, we organize a feedback session in which participants can share their experiences using the tools and receive feedback from our trainer. This training-application-feedback routine will enable participants to better master the methodology.

  • 1)    Tue November 10, 2020 from 13u30 – 16u30: SESSION 1 // Introduction + training session on inspiration

We start with a three hour workshop that introduces you to the training program and teaches the use of different methodologies to find inspiration for creative research ideas that fit your personal goals and interests.
Application to own research: After the session, trainees will start gathering new insights and inspiration using tools and frameworks discussed during the workshop.

  • 2)   Fri  November 20, 2020 from 13u30 – 16u30: SESSION 2 // Feedback + training session on idea generation

Participants discuss their experiences with fellow participants and receive feedback from our trainers. Depending on the group size, we split the group in smaller subgroups for feedback sessions to ensure optimal learning from feedback.
Next, in a two hour interactive session we explain the brainstorming tools for idea generation. In small exercises with fellow participants, trainees can test the tools and ask further questions.
Application to own research: After the session, trainees can do the idea brainstorm exercise with some trusted colleagues to further develop creative research ideas.

  • 3)   Fri November 27, 2020 from 13u30 – 16u30: SESSION 3 // Feedback + training session on idea selection and pitching

Participants discuss their experiences with fellow participants and receive feedback from our trainers. Next, in a two hour workshop we explain some prioritization tools which can be used to select the best ideas. Furthermore, we train participants on how to pitch their research by using our tools to their advisors or people they want to receive feedback from.
Application to own research:  After the session, trainees can use the prioritization tools to select their best ideas in collaboration with their trusted advisors or co-workers.

  • 4)   Fri December 4, 2020  from 13u30 – 16u30: SESSION 4 // Feedback + training session on further selection and pre-initiation

Participants discuss their experiences on pitching their ideas to their supervisors with fellow participants and receive feedback from our trainers. Next, a two hour workshop explains the use of tools to further develop their research ideas before selecting the best ideas and start initiating the research project.


  • dr. Bram Roosens obtained his PhD at the Faculty of Business Economics of the University of Antwerp. In his dissertation he focused on communication about co-creation with multiple stakeholders during innovation, and on collaboration dynamics within innovation networks. Several chapters of his dissertation are published or under review. In 2019, he won the best paper award at the ISPIM Innovation Conference. During his Ph.D. Bram supervised bachelor- and master theses on various marketing topics. He is also a visiting professor on New Product Development and Launch at the University of Namur. Bram is also an Associate at MTI², where he is specialized in guiding idea generation processes for multi-stakeholder collaboration.
  • Prof.dr. Elio Keko is visiting professor of marketing at Ghent University, Belgium. He obtained his PhD at the Business Economics department of the Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. There Elio taught marketing strategy for five years. Elio is working in several high impact research topics, specializing in the effects of innovation on company performance, and studying the benefits of crowdsourcing and grassroots (employee-based) innovation.
    Elio is also a Senior Associate at MTI², where he has been involved in innovation initiatives for several multinational companies and organizations including Michelin, SKF, Ghent University, Merck, Aliaxis, Baloise, etc. He has offered coaching and research to innovation teams on their way to bringing their ideas to market. He also authored several case studies with companies such as Komatsu Ltd., Babcock International and Rabobank.

Teaching method

The sessions will run digitally. In case circumstances permit, the first session will be done on campus.

Registration fee

Free of charge for Doctoral School members. The no show policy applies: no-show policy UGent


Follow this link:  If the course is fully booked, you can ask to be added to the waiting list by sending an e-mail (mentionning your ID student nr) to

Please read the cancellation policy: cancellationpolicycourses

Maximum 15 participants



Evaluation methods and criteria (doctoral training programme)

100% active participation, exercises between sessions