By: Chuck Frey
When brainstorming, it’s not enough to generate a large quantity of ideas. You must have an organized way to evaluate the ideas you have generated. Charles “Chic” Thompson, in his excellent book, What a Great Idea! Key Steps Creative People Take, suggests this valuable list of evaluation idea questions.
When brainstorming, it’s not enough to generate a large quantity of ideas. You must have an organized way to evaluate the ideas you have generated. Charles “Chic” Thompson, in his excellent book, What a Great Idea! Key Steps Creative People Take, suggests this valuable list of idea evaluation questions (these are excerpts; more questions are contained in the book):
1. Ask about failure
- If you failed completely or partially, what would happen?
- Are the risks and possible losses acceptable? Can they be avoided or reduced?
- If you fail, what can you salvage?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of starting over?
2. Ask about success
- What criteria will you use to determine success?
- Who is essential to the outcome?
- Wjat place, location or thing is necessary?
- What action, process, activity or event must occur?
- What can you do to make your idea even better?
3. Ask about the future
- Will you idea become obsolete because of evolving technologies? When may this occur?
- If your idea is a product or service, what effect will it have on people’s quality of life? Physical or mental health? Safety? Standards of living?
- If the idea catches on suddenly, can you keep up with demand?
- How might changes in these circumstances affect your idea: overseas competition, change of management, cost of materials, availability of materials?
4. Ask personal questions
- If it were your money, what would you do?
- How strong is your commitment to the project?
- Should you challenge any of your assumptions?
- What do you assume are the givens?
- What facts should you question?
- What are you taking for granted?
5. Ask about your mission
- Do you know exactly where this idea fits into the big picture?
- Does it promote your mission?
- Have you been looking at this idea from all points of view or just your own?
6. Ask about timing
- Is the idea timely?
- Is it too early, too much ahead of its time?
Questions like these can help you to think about your ideas and possible solutions at a much deeper level, and may suggest new ideas or improvements to the most promising solutions, or perhaps a totally new direction. Why not try using these questions to evaluate your next set of new ideas? I think you’ll find that they will generate new insights and perspectives on the challenge at hand, and the ideas that will best solve it!