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August 3, 2010 / Mike Biggs

What to do with your good ideas part 2- how the process affects the outcome.

Following on from my previous post about the storage of ideas, I would like to explore the idea further.

To recap: keeping ideas in scraps of paper can promote a low view or lack of respect for the ideas contained, conversely, keeping your ideas in a lovely book, or neatly filed in a safe gives an elevated level of value. (Of course there is no guarantee that the ideas live up to the heightened value, but it’s a good start.)

How else can the way you treat ideas influence their value?

Generating Ideas

If the process of generating ideas is intentional and methodical wherein you use specific tools and or processes in developing ideas as output then the invested time and effort dictates the expected value of the outcome. After spending your time and energies in a specific way it is normal to expect that you will see a higher quality output and therefore a higher value output.

The thing is, a better or higher quality output is not guaranteed just by expecting it. When generating ideas it is important to uphold the high expectations, but is also integral that you support the process with proven technique. The assumption that great ideas just pop into the minds of super creative people is incorrect, it happens but it is not the exclsive idea generating process. There is much more to explore on how to generate ideas, which will come in later posts. In summary, an intentional, quality process will lead to a high value output.

Evaluating Ideas

Again with the investment of time and effort as well as intention, the natural assumption is that an outcome of high value will be attained. Like generating ideas, evaluating them has some expectations which colour our view of any outcome. It is assumed by many that there is a right and a wrong answer to things, and that logic and commonsense will lead you to the ‘right’ answer or decision about an idea.  There is much detail to be added here on the different evaluation methodologies and that simple right/wrong logic is drastically incapable of valuable evaluation of any idea. Those details I will save for another post. For now it is sufficient to say that the energy and style of evaluation has a great impact on the value and potentially the content of ideas.

Suggestions for how to generate and evaluate your ideas that will add value and respect:

  • Allocate adequate time to generating and evaluating ideas.
  • Allocate infrastructure for communication and collaboration between team members just for your idea workshop. eg. a members only social network like NING or one of the business focussed ones.
  • Work with your ideas in a setting befitting the quality of ideas that you wish to generate, ie, a special room that is comfortable and has all the required amenities.
  • Request participants of your ideas team from unrelated industries or departments for fresh perspectives.
  • Pay participants of brains trusts, or brainstorming groups for their efforts.
  • Write your casual ideas in a notebook of high quality, for example a Moleskin.
  • Collate and document all eventualities in the generation stage for later reivew.
  • Keep your ideas neatly filed in a safe.
  • Put a price on your ideas.
  • Give your idea generation process a grand name for example: Idea Summit.

Any suggestions?


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