How Valuable is Your Great Idea?

Sunday, 19 April 2015 17:02
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An idea is only as valuable as its ability to be actioned. So why is it that creative ideation sessions often require participants to screen and rank ideas according to their relative attractiveness without also considering their relative feasibility?

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

How Valuable is Your Great Idea?

You and your colleagues are participating in a creative ideation session to identify new product opportunities for the Luv My Dermis personal care brand. You've collectively generated dozens of product and positioning ideas over the course of the day, some of which could represent very unique and distinctive market offerings. The collection includes a variety of traditional product forms, as well as others that are considerably more "out there", involving electrical devices, novel delivery systems, etc.. All of these ideas have been captured on colorful Post It notes and are displayed around the room.

The participants are then provided shiny stickers and assigned to award them to the most appealing ideas. Participants attach one or multiple votes for a given idea based on its perceived attractiveness.

Finally, the group finishes voting and the vast array of ideas has been thinned to 10 really popular ones. Which of these finalists should the team pursue? Tough to say...since their respective technical feasibility has not been considered at all in the discussion thus far.

By actively exploring technical alternatives (even preliminarily) as part of a creative ideation exercise, teams informed by these inputs can create bigger ideas than the ones they originally envisioned. This isn't merely hypothetical. I can show you how to do it.

What is the risk of not introducing feasibility into an assessment process? Teams can adopt popular ideas with unknown feasibility that they then must consider sub-optimizing to reflect technical realities and constraints, including program timing requirements. These can become different and lesser ideas that might not been nearly as popular in voting if the participants had more knowledge of their feasibility. Or, the team must undertake technical search projects to seek out possible enabling technologies once they've committed to a particular idea. This is fine of course, especially if one is willing to accept the uncertainties associated with search exercises.

My point is, when you integrate technical feasibility considerations into creative ideation exercises you can help ensure that your best ideas are actionable when you need them.

Since 2005, BFS Innovations has helped its Fortune 500 clients with technology scouting, new business creation and development services. Contact Michael today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at
614 937-2408 to discuss your company's needs.


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