What is the Best Criteria to Evaluate Ideas

criteria to evaluate ideasOne of the most common questions that we get from our customers when they’re ready to start valuing and prioritizing ideas is what sorts of criteria other people are using to evaluate ideas. Of course, the type of criteria to evaluate ideas heavily depends on the company, the types of ideas, and the goals of the initiative, but we can still share some suggestions that will help you find your own criteria.

One common description of innovation, states that it’s the confluence of an idea that has viability, feasibility, and desirability. This might be a simplified way of looking at good ideas, but it’s that definition that has encouraged many of our customers to evaluate ideas against these three criteria at some point. The desirability can oftentimes can be derived from voting and feasibility and viability can be assessed in later stages by specific groups and subject matter experts. But it’s a great idea to look at your most promising ideas from this perspective since it not only reveals what people want, but what you’re capable of delivering.

A lot of companies also use their core values as evaluation criteria. This truly helps align ideas in an innovation community to your mission and beliefs. It also means that you have to be communicating those core beliefs as part of your innovation efforts, because potential innovators should know that their ideas should meet these goals. Of course, a great Harvard Business Review article talks about the difference between values. Core values are, of course, the deeply ingrained driving forces of your business, but don’t confuse them with the table stakes of permission-to-play values or the aspirational values that you’d someday like to embody.

You can see some of the values at some leading companies here. For example, Adidas defines its brand against performance, passion, integrity and diversity and so they might evaluate ideas by asking how much an idea serves each of these value points. Adobe, by contrast, could look at ideas against their ability to help them stay genuine, be exceptional and innovative, and stay involved.

But, of course, ideas can be evaluated against any criteria from it’s ability to support sustainability to its impact on profitability. If you’re interested in learning more about IdeaScale and see a list of common criteria used by IdeaScale customers, watch our webinar on the subject here. 

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