Module 4 Idea Assessment

May 9, 2019

By Hayley McLaughlin

As a whole, our idea assessment procedures are not necessarily efficient but I would still argue that they are effective in that for the sector I belong to, we still manage to come with new ideas to market that give us a competitive differentiation.

Years ago when I first joined our organization, and with no industry experience, I was frustrated that many of my or my customer’s ideas were always met with the response of “how many more units will you sell if we implement such an idea?” And then with experience, I understood just how many ideas are really ‘out there’ & that of course, as Magnusson et al (2016) comments it is indeed “a major challenge” for organisations to understand how to assess new ideas for a product or service “in an efficient and comprehensive manner.”

Our idea screening process pertains more to a System 2 approach, more rational & “slow” than intuitive but there are also examples where intuition specifically by our in house experts was used. In some of these cases where System 1 was relied upon, it could also be argued that this intuition overrode the testing process during the validation due to the instant mistake that was recognized upon release.

Generally overall though, the ideas come from a 70/30 mixture of in house experts as well as users but more specifically, users as Ozer (2009) describes as having both “product expertise” and “product lead-usership” or as Magnusson et al. denotes as “technically skilled users” (2016). If an in-house/professional expert comes with the idea, it is validated with interviews & research with these technically skilled users before development even begins & then constant validation is sought through the development process.

However, the financial “gates” are there early on in this process too which has unfortunately blocked many good ideas from reaching the market before a competitor.

Our sector has only started to employ the processes of co-creation that have existed for some years now for many other sectors in our organization & I believe this will have a positive impact on the ideas, their quality and speed at which we can bring them to market because regardless of whether System 1 or 2 is employed throughout the screening process, a combination of users, in house experts & leaders in the field will validate our future ideas/products/services.

In screening our ideas as a part of this module, I tried to employ using both systems to see how that impacted the results of how I scaled the ideas on separate occasions. So yes, I rated some ideas twice! For our ideas, I rate myself as a “technicaly naïve user” because my bias really shone through even when I was trying rate ideas based on rationality alone!