Sorting and assessing other people's ideas is time-consuming, frustrating and often a waste of time. Especially when you consider how few ideas submitted are focussed on business growth innovation.
But there's a better way to handle it. Hang around, and I'll show you how.
Like supermarket self-checkouts get you to do their work for them, you can get people to do work for you, by self-assess their ideas.
Meaning you get to go home on time, and only the best ideas come through. Oh, and there will be no more politics, resentment or a potential mutiny on your hands because it's all transparent.
1. Send all the ideas to a committee to decide whether to proceed or ditch the idea.
2. Have one leader make the call.
3. Have the submitted fill out a 20-page business case on why the idea should proceed.
Frankly, all three of these ways suck. They create resentment and stifle any business growth innovation.
Committees are made up of busy people who get together to try to read between the lines and make sense of someone's idea on top of their already busy job. While they are supposedly on the lookout for the next BIG idea, they are usually looking out for risk. "Will saying yes to this idea cost me my job?" Couple that with their time limitations, and very few ideas come out the other side, and not necessarily the best ideas either.
Having one leader making the call is a tad faster than the committee. Still, they will have even more of a risk detection radars operating.
If the idea flops, it's the manager who approves it and whose head will roll first. Favouritism and bias rear their ugly head in this one too. The leader will favour their buddies, and hate and resentment can start building rapidly…
A mutiny is on the cards in the future, or no participation is coming for the next session.
The business case is probably the most painful one. Chances are the person coming up with the idea doesn't have all the answers. Well, not enough to write a business case on something that hasn't been validated yet. After page 2 or 3, they realise they might look stupid if they don't get it right. And how much time will it take, and will there be anything in return for the effort. After all, If I'm spending all this time just submitting an idea, how much work will it take to build it?" This leads to the submitter dropping the idea and getting back to work as usual.
Can you see why we need a faster and fairer way to assess ideas now?
So here's the fix.
There are 3 criteria that you need people to consider when self-assessing their ideas. Used together, they will inform both the idea creator and recipient of the assessed idea:
We've successfully helped create effective, simple one-page idea assessment forms for various organisations and teams. From hard-hitting R&D labs, to local government admin teams. By the way, you can access all our forms from our membership site, The Reinvention Club. https://thereinventionclub.com/
If you can communicate your idea sorting criteria by drawing it on the back of a napkin, then you know you're heading in the right direction.
Here are some criteria to consider for your idea assessment form:
Provide a small space at the top of the form for someone to give a very brief description of what their idea is.
Now that they've written the basics of the idea, get them to score their idea.
Score potential ideas out of 10 for each of the following three criteria:
If you're feeling fancy, you could get people to plot the idea score accordingly on a graph like the one below. Or simply add up all the scores to see how their total compares to a perfect score of 30. This total score should help them determine if they should submit it or not.
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