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how-to-evaluate-ideas-arrows Idea Evaluation Methods: What If You Changed The World?

Idea Evaluation Methods: What If You Changed The World?

You’ve already established daily creativity habits and wrote some of them down. Now it’s time to use idea evaluation methods to choose which great idea gets the green light. Either make the decision yourself or bring in a team of experts. Regardless of who’s involved, you’ll want to consider the following.

Does It Already Exist?

When evaluating whether an idea is worth pursuing, one place to start to search the Internet. Find out if anyone tried this before. Try to find success stories to determine if there’s a common reason why they succeeded. Likewise, look for examples where implementation of an idea resulted in failure. Is the reason for failure the same for all? These can become learning opportunities during the evaluation process.

In those cases where it succeeded is to consider is how it disrupted an existing industry. For example, look at Airbnb and CouchSurfer formalizing the rental of private rooms and couches. They affected the Hotel and Motel industry which had a monopoly on that market.

Try to find #success stories to determine if there's a common reason why they succeededClick To Tweet

Another example of success is Uber and Lyft. Both allows private individuals to have a part time job renting seats in their car. They upset the existing shuttle and taxi business, some of which made a full-time living. Prices charged by Uber and Lyft were much less than current transportation options. The new kid on the block also wasn’t under heavy regulation either. It led to shuttle and taxi companies convincing some cities to ban the practice. Meanwhile, other cities welcomed the competition.

Existing Knowledge

When it comes to implementing your idea, you need to consider the amount of expertise required. If you are a beginning novice in the industry, then you’ll have a lot to learn in a short period. Having little knowledge can be beneficial because you aren’t restricted by existing limitations.

There will be some aspects of the project needing experts due to the complexity. Others need to stay on top of regulatory compliance with applicable laws. Before hiring outsiders, have them sign a non-disclosure agreement before sharing detailed information.

marketplace-storefront-300x234 Idea Evaluation Methods: What If You Changed The World?
The Marketplace

For a new idea to be an economic success there needs to be willing customers that want to use it. One of the best ways to determine interest is to survey potential buyers. Make sure to present the idea in a believable and understandable form. If you don’t, prospects likely won’t be interest in it. Consider ethical and socially acceptable norms when putting together the presentation.

Also, have all descriptions as concise as possible. The idea should express the value that they will receive. The perceived value will affect how much they would be willing to pay for it. Another way is by attending trade shows where the target audience hangs out. Socialize with attendees and vendor exhibits without revealing too much. Keep in mind that there won’t be opportunities for non-disclosure agreements in this environment.

Testing an idea may need the use of websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. In these cases, you present the idea to the world, and interested individuals can buy into the project. The contributors expect to receive either the final product or other perks. For example, when Solar Roadways decided to create solar powered road tiles they found that they had excess shards of glass available.

They captured these bits of solar pieces during production into clear containers. Project backers had the option to receive these for less money instead of the full product. If the funding goal is not reached on these websites, then it’s a good sign that there isn’t a market.

Personal Interest

You will need to invest some of your time and money in the idea for it become a success. If you aren’t motivated by the project and cannot visualize it in your mind, then it’s not worth the effort. Here’s one way to determine your level of interest. Write it down, put it away, and then sleep on it. Return to it a few days or a few weeks later and see if you still have an interest, if so then go for it!

You aren’t the only one affected by the time dedicated to this project. Personal and professional relations can become strained if others don’t support you. You should only invest an effort in the project if you have a real passion for it and are willing to accept the risks.


The viability of the project begins with the planning stage. Your idea will eventually be superseded by something else at which point it’s discontinued. During the planning stage, you need to establish milestones to ensure you are still on track. A prototype or minimum viable product should be one of the early stages to prove feasibility. When creating the prototype, determine what success is and what failure is in advance. This way, you’ll have an objective measuring stick for comparison instead gut feelings.

Collect feedback from beta testers using your prototype and encourage them to suggest improvements. These beta testers can also assist with the ethical aspects. For example, they may have ideas on how to protect the environment or improve worker safety during production. Environmental concerns can include waste during manufacturing, waste from use, and waste at disposal.

Determine what is the break-even point during the planning stage. It is where resources poured into the project are offset by the revenue generated by it. Factors that can affect this is the market size and the business model used. Is there one-time revenue at the initial sale or will it be subscription based? If subscription based, will there also be a nontransferable “lifetime” option? All these considerations will determine when you will recouping your investment.

During the lifetime of the product, there will need to be a method for performing repairs. Also, some will want you to offer functionality upgrades. The design phase is a good place to make these decisions. Those involved with the repair process will appreciate your making their job easier. Many end users will jump at the opportunity to pay more money in exchange for extra functionality. Now you can jump at the opportunity to share your thoughts via one of the social buttons below too!

idea-evaluation-methods Idea Evaluation Methods: What If You Changed The World?