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A Simple Method for Idea Selection

Meta-ideas lightbulb illustration

When an organization receives many ideas, it can be difficult to determine which ones are the most valuable. One approach to evaluating and selecting the best ideas is to narrow them down to a smaller set of "meta-ideas" which are formed by combining similar ideas.

The goal is often to identify the most creative ideas, which can be evaluated based on both their novelty (or impact) and workability (or implementability). 

However, it is commonly overlooked that there is often a negative correlation between novelty and workability, which means that many highly novel and easily workable ideas may not be selected.

To streamline the process of evaluating and selecting ideas, here is a four-step method that can help select ideas quickly and also ensures that highly novel and easily workable ideas are selected:

Step 1: Evaluate each idea independently based on its potential impact (Im1) and implementability (Im2). A scale of 1-3, 1-7, or 1-10 can be used, depending on the number of ideas being considered. Calculate the Im-Creativity score for each idea by multiplying its impact and implementability scores (i.e., Im1 x Im2).

Step 2: Rank the ideas from highest to lowest Im-Creativity score. Starting with the top-ranked idea, move down the list and identify any other ideas that could be combined with it to create a single meta-idea. Text clustering techniques, such as Latent Semantic Analysis or Topic Modeling, may be useful in finding similar ideas. A text analysis tool like MeaningCloud can help in this process. Continue this process until you have identified 10 meta-ideas for every 1000 ideas in your pool.

Step 3: To identify novel (high impact) ideas that may have been missed, repeat Steps 1 and 2, but this time calculate Im-Novelty as Im1 x Im1 x Im2. Identify 10 novel meta-ideas using this method for every 1000 ideas in your original pool of ideas.

Step 4: To identify easy-to-implement ideas, calculate Im-Usefulness as Im1 x Im2 x Im2. Repeat Step 2 using Im-Usefulness in place of Im-Creativity to rank the ideas. Identify 10 implementable ideas using this method.

Step 5: Examine the set of ideas and eliminate common ideas in the three lists. Replace common ideas with new ideas from the ranked list.

By following this process, it is possible to quickly identify 30 creative, novel, and implementable ideas from a pool of 1000. This method can be a valuable tool for organizations facing the challenge of evaluating and selecting ideas from many submissions without losing novel and workable ideas.

To learn how leading Fortune Global 500 companies such as ABB, Bosch, Google, Samsung, and NetApp have used Innomantra's Functional Innovation Methodology to turbocharge their idea management process, schedule a meeting today at