How to identify good ideas – Episode I

March 13th, 2018

Measuring the value and validity of ideas


Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Creativity is the ability to come up with novel ideas, but innovation doesn’t occur until those ideas are productive. Many businesses end up chasing ideas that never bring any productive value, because the idea was adopted for reasons that were not objectively measured and vetted. There are two primary things we should be considering when trying to determine whether an idea is good or not: Value, and Validity.

Value and validity is NOT contained within an idea just because:

  • It was given loudly
  • It was given by the highest ranking voice in the room
  • It was given from someone with many ideas
  • It was given eloquently

These are all attempts to validate an idea through personality, not value or validity. Everyone has ideas, but quantity doesn’t mean quality. How many musicians have you heard that put out a brilliant project, but followed up with something that made you question their talent altogether? The true talent lies in the ability to order, demonstrate, communicate, refine, reject, and select their ideas.

An idea has value when:

  • It solves an identified problem
  • There is a specific benefit
  • It supports a specific goal

An idea has validity when:

  • The facts behind it are true
  • There is hard evidence backing up what’s being proposed
  • There are specific numbers taken into account, calculated correctly

Adopting an idea just because it “sounds good”, “feels good” or “makes sense”, doesn’t mean it will accomplish everything it needs to in the context of the conversation being had. It can be easy to get lost in the weeds, forget what you were trying to accomplish, and adopt the idea given by the most senior representative in the room with the most passionate speech, even if solves a DIFFERENT problem than the one you met to solve in the first place.

Objectivity means you can separate yourself from the object, measure the object with other objects, view it from a perspective outside yourself. Subjectivity means you can’t see the periphery, you can only see from a perspective from within yourself, and therefore can’t bring in anything not dependent on you to measure against. Don’t get lost in complex narratives, appeals to emotion, or appeals to authority in your meetings. There are more specific methodologies available for qualifying ideas, and I’ll get into those in future posts (Six Sigma perhaps being the most well-known, but cumbersome methodology). But for now, just remember that you have the ability to step back, look at the bigger picture, and find the appropriate solution by measuring each idea’s value and validity objectively.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with this process or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.




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