I think in visuals. When I'm working through a system, concept or UI, I nearly always start with pen on paper, even if its just words, scribbles, and rectangles. Thinking visually is something most people stop doing as soon as art class isn't a requirement, for many this is in grade school, which is a travesty. Learning to visualize our ideas is an important skill in all kinds of fields, not just design.
I lead a structured an ideation session around three key activities, each one with a separate goal that would move us from research into the design and build phase. Ultimately, the session proved so fruitful that nearly every other Capstone team copied our same methodology (partly because we did our presentation first and everyone followed). Here’s what we did: