How many ideas should move from selected to implemented?
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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!

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