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We all have ideas. Whacky, wonderful, sometimes, never-ending ideas. The big problem, we fall in love with ideas, which often distract us from seeing the great opportunities over the rest.

In a previous update, we wrote of the launch for IOTOPIA, an educational program for schools and students to explore the Internet of Things, with our initial partners Studio Dott, Mobistar and GO! Onderwijs van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap.

Adding to the partner list we're very happy to annouce Plantyn and Intel, both of which bringing a wealth of expertise in educational and technical support.

IOTOPIA soon kicks off with the ideation phase, a crucial component in any design process, and a task often underestimated or overlooked by ambitious inventors.

With problem exploration, idea generation and feasibility selection, IOTOPIA will take students and teachers through a structured process to tackle real problems and create meaningful innovations, thanks to some very awesome design tools from Studio Dott.

To support IOTOPIA, an ideation and showcase platform will soon be launched, letting teachers get feedback on exercises, find inspiring resources and really enable students to formulate ideas that solve problems on different scales, including in the home, at school and for the city. How to approach making IoT ideas happen?

Your ideas come from a need or desire to solve a problem, to make something faster, better or cheaper. From this starting point, take steps to ideate around a problem, and come to a clear understanding and a roadmap towards a solution.

Next time you have a great idea for a maker project, the next great app, or a new connected device, consider these steps to get your IoT ideas off the ground.

Start with a problem

Typically an inkling of an idea, a need for change or a solution has already been thought about, along with why and how it could be useful. Really think about who the issue is a pain for, what are the main contributors to the problem and where does it occur. This will help you explain why it's required and how it is valuable.

Scan your environment

Your problem probably doesn't live in isolation. Observe the environment, the actors and objects which are involved, as well as the everyday interactions between these things and the recurring activities they go through. Take a step back and look broader to consider related themes that may be contributing to the pains, and the current solutions that are solving the issue entirely.

Evaluate pain points and identity the critical

Problems are often plentiful, spend time to identify those problems that will provide the most impact by creating a solution. Any idea brainstorm session should close by scoring and prioritising ideas to help you choose the best in terms of impact and feasibility.

Elaborate and discuss

Before jumping in and hacking a solution together, examine those really important issues and discuss them with the people that face them the most.

This is just the start of an entire process to begin turning ideas into concepts, and on to building sustainable innovative solutions. If you're interested in finding out more about how we approach IoT at AllThingsTalk, get in touch and see how we can make your IoT ideas happen.