How Do You Determine The Good Ideas?

I can come up with a lot of ideas.  A lot.  But, unfortunately, not all of them are good ones.  So I need a way to separate the winners from the, well, non-winners.  Here are a couple of ways to do that.

College researchers (I am sorry, I don’t have the reference to who came up with this) ran an experiment where they presented a series of logic problems to a group of people. What they found was most people missed most people answered one or more questions incorrectly. But when they grouped people into groups of three or more, they answered all the questions correctly, even if they had all previously answered the one or more of the same problems wrong wrong.

This shows the power of teams. That simple discussion in the group was the edge needed. When everyone is working together for a common goal it lead to marked increases in the ability to get the right answer, not just in logic problems, but in everything.

That is the first way to determine if ideas are good ideas. If you have nodding in agreement and discussion that further refines an idea, it is probably ready to be implemented and released to your test group.

Be alert, too.  Through this process of simple discussion, the idea may even morph into something radically different than it was when it was initially proposed, and that is great too. As long as at the end of the discussion you have a group consensus on that idea,  you can be pretty sure you have a winner.

When you have a list of ideas and are trying to figure out which to start on, a second way you can evaluate them is to just put them on some type of grid. This is commonly used in
Kaizen events and an example is shown below.

VSM Lean Value Stream intro

The grid is really easy to make.  The Y-axis denotes the ease of implementation and the X-axis denotes the anticipated benefit.  All you need to do then is to take the team’s list of ideas and plot them on the grid in relative terms of ease of implementation and projected benefit. Once you have this will give you a very nice graphical representation of your proposed ideas. It can help you to determine which ones you want to implement first and which ones will be most effective.

You may see ideas that look like they will be very effective but will take a long time or a lot of effort to implement. That doesn’t mean you ignore those ideas.  This is just a tool
to get an idea of the relative cost to benefit.  Depending on your project, you might find that this is all you need to do or you may also find that this is just a first step in organizing ideas in order to implement improvements.

The use of discussion is a great way to refine ideas. The second way is a quiet great way to rank ideas.

The third way, combining these two ways, will lead to places you can only dream of in the beginning of a project.

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