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Evaluating ideas

From: Business Innovation Fundamentals

Video: Evaluating ideas

The SIT method is designed to help you generate lots of ideas in a systematic way. But how do you select which ideas to pursue? Filtering ideas is an essential part of the creativity process. You want to make sure you spend your time only on those ideas with the most potential. In this video, I'll share ways to evaluate ideas. First, put all your ideas in a standard format. That will make it a lot easier to evaluate them.

Evaluating ideas

The SIT method is designed to help you generate lots of ideas in a systematic way. But how do you select which ideas to pursue? Filtering ideas is an essential part of the creativity process. You want to make sure you spend your time only on those ideas with the most potential. In this video, I'll share ways to evaluate ideas. First, put all your ideas in a standard format. That will make it a lot easier to evaluate them.

I like to use a template like this: Name of idea, description of idea, benefits, target audience, and challenges. Every idea should have its own name, not just a number, and give it a name that will help people see what the idea is about. Use literal names, not vague or confusing ones. For example, let's stick with our refrigerator example. If the new idea is a way to cool other parts of the kitchen, you could call this idea distributed cooling.

The next thing I like to do is put every idea into one of three categories. The first category is for those ideas that are a bit far out, perhaps even borderline crazy. They're novel, but they may not be feasible. The second category is for those ideas that are just the opposite. They're not wild at all. They're incremental improvements. But the third category is for ideas in the middle, not too far out and not too near in. They're in a special zone we call the sweet spot.

They're viable and creative. It's these ideas that people get excited about. But we're not done yet. Once you put the ideas in these categories, let's look at ways to get more of them into the sweet spot. Here's what I suggest you do. Start with the far-out ideas. Is there a way to pull them back in and take out some of the weirdness of the idea to make it more feasible? What if you eliminated an exotic feature of the idea but still retain the essence of what the concept is trying to do? That might eliminate some of the riskiness of the idea.

For those incremental ideas, find a way to push them out and add some novelty. For example, what if you used task unification to have one of the components doing an additional task? Or what if you applied attribute dependency to the concept to make it smart and adaptive? That would certainly add some novelty and push it closer to the sweet spot. After this exercise, you're ready to start evaluating your list of ideas. There are two ways to do this.

One is very simple and informal. You ask a group of people to vote on the ideas. You've probably seen the so-called Dot method. Here is how it works. First, let the group read the entire list of ideas with all the benefits and challenges. Then each participant is given a number of small sticky colored dots. They're instructed to place these dots on the ideas that they think are best. I usually have participants place these right onto the paper with a list of ideas.

This keeps the voting anonymous and makes it more objective. Then collect all the votes and tally them up. While it may sound overly simple, the dot method of voting has lots of benefits. Each individual has their own biases of what makes a great idea, and they vote accordingly. But voting as a group tends to neutralize those individual biases. Many times, the group vote will tell you which ideas the company will prefer. The other method is more formal and quantitative.

First, create a score card by listing the four or five most important criteria for judging good ideas. Criteria might include how novel the idea is or how useful it is for your customer, how viable the idea is to implement, and perhaps how risky the idea is. For each criterion, use a rating scale of one to four, where four is the highest and one is the lowest. Don't use odd number scales like one to five because people have a tendency to overuse the middle of the scale, and they rate too many ideas a three.

You want to force their ratings to be on one side or the other. Ask people to use the score card and rate each idea. Then using a tool like Excel, put all the data in a spreadsheet so you can calculate the averages of all raters. Add up the final score for each idea. The ideas with the highest scores are your best ideas, assuming you selected the right criteria. This approach takes more time, but it gives you more precision, especially when evaluating a large pool of ideas.

True innovators generate great ideas, but they also use the wisdom of others to help evaluate them.

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This video is part of

Image for Business Innovation Fundamentals
Business Innovation Fundamentals

58 video lessons · 2339 viewers

Drew Boyd
Author

 
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  1. 1m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 22s
    2. Using the exercise files
      19s
  2. 21m 37s
    1. What is innovation? Introducing Systematic Inventive Thinking
      3m 21s
    2. The principle of function follows form
      4m 8s
    3. The closed-world principle
      4m 16s
    4. Characteristics of innovative products and services
      3m 51s
    5. Challenging the myth of thinking outside the box
      3m 11s
    6. Challenging the myth of serendipity
      2m 50s
  3. 11m 55s
    1. Functional fixedeness
      2m 26s
    2. The subtraction technique
      2m 59s
    3. Subtraction in action
      4m 8s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 22s
  4. 10m 35s
    1. Structural fixedness
      2m 32s
    2. The division technique
      2m 43s
    3. Division in action
      3m 3s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 17s
  5. 16m 25s
    1. The multiplication technique
      4m 24s
    2. Multiplication in action
      4m 39s
    3. Zooming in and zooming out
      4m 51s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 31s
  6. 15m 45s
    1. The task-unification technique
      4m 19s
    2. Task unification in action
      4m 14s
    3. Using task unification for business issues
      4m 27s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 45s
  7. 17m 49s
    1. The attribute dependency technique
      3m 32s
    2. Creating an attribute dependency matrix
      3m 37s
    3. Types of dependencies
      4m 12s
    4. Attribute dependency in action
      4m 31s
    5. Addressing common challenges
      1m 57s
  8. 27m 7s
    1. Running ideation workshops
      4m 13s
    2. Which technique to use
      3m 26s
    3. Creating new services and processes
      3m 17s
    4. Creating digital innovations
      5m 12s
    5. Involving customers
      5m 49s
    6. Evaluating ideas
      5m 10s
  9. 14m 48s
    1. Mastering innovative thinking
      3m 42s
    2. Building a pilot program
      3m 56s
    3. Addressing organizational challenges with innovation
      4m 3s
    4. Next steps
      3m 7s
  10. 52m 41s
    1. About Drew
      2m 9s
    2. What is innovation?
      51s
    3. What got Drew started in innovation?
      2m 15s
    4. On innovation as a skill
      1m 53s
    5. On innovation as part of your business
      1m 58s
    6. On resistance to innovation
      3m 31s
    7. On innovation's tainted image
      2m 34s
    8. Where do you apply innovation strategies?
      2m 31s
    9. Who should lead an innovation effort?
      3m 6s
    10. On favorite innovation experiences
      3m 51s
    11. On innovation vs. strategy
      3m 36s
    12. On working with innovation consultants
      3m 20s
    13. On trends in innovation
      3m 26s
    14. On innovation as competition
      2m 32s
    15. On innovative companies
      2m 43s
    16. On generating vs. executing ideas
      3m 2s
    17. Can you overdo innovation?
      2m 1s
    18. How do you start innovating?
      3m 44s
    19. On the most innovative products
      3m 38s

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