Idea Evaluation

How do you decide which ideas to implement and which to toss aside?

Wendy Ruyle 5.18.2017

A brainstorming session often leaves you with multitudes of Post-it notes with great ideas on them and no plan for moving forward. Use this technique to move from ideation to implementation.

You can’t implement every idea. Budget and staff resources just don’t allow it. By taking all of your ideas and putting them into an evaluation grid, you can decide which ones to do now, which ones to do later, and which ones to not do at all.

Start by making a grid with 4 quadrants. At the top, write “Important,” at the bottom, “Not Important.” On the left, write “Easy,” on the right, “Hard.” Then place your ideas in the appropriate area of the grid based on how important they are vs. how hard they are to complete.

What’s important?

You can use various criteria to determine what is important for your particular problem and to whom. Important to customers? Important to sales goals or funding? Important to employee morale? Take into account varying viewpoints on what or why certain ideas hold weight. In other words, don’t do this exercise alone. Involve your stakeholders, no matter who they are.

What’s easy?

Again, you want to use the criteria that’s right for your problem. Do you have the staff to do it? Do you have the dollars? Do you have the skill sets? Again, don’t do this alone. Ask your staff what it really takes to get that enewsletter out each week. The person doing the work on a daily basis needs to weigh in.

What’s next?

Once you have agreement on the placement of your ideas on the grid, you’ll know where to start. If an idea’s easy and important, do it right away. If it’s hard and not important, discard it. You’ll have to prioritize items in the upper right quadrant as you have time and resources. For the easy but not important ideas, do them as you have time but don't put them in front of more important tasks.

This is a quick way to come to consensus and allow all your stakeholders to visualize the reasons you’re moving forward with some initiatives and not others.

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