Friday 14 May 2021

Mirror, mirror on the wall what is the best idea of them all.

You are probably one of those creative minds that pop ideas like popcorn on a hot pan. You want to do them all, and you want to do them now. That is until you get paralyzed with the sheer amount of choice. You are experiencing 'idea fatigue'. 

Your creative mind can quickly get out of control and behave like a kid in a candy store. Wanting to touch and taste everything. Like a kid, even your mind needs to have a 'parent' to guide it to the best choice. 

Important takeaway: The surprising truth is that you need to organize your creative mind. 

There is a time when you should let your creative mind get loose and just come up with as many ideas as it dares to. There is also a time when you need to be very structured in evaluating and selecting the best idea. The best idea that solves your problems and that can turn into the most profitable innovation. This article is just about that. 

1. What is your goal? 

A clear goal will make selecting your idea so much easier. That is even if you are relatively vague about your goals. Do you have multiple goals? Write all of them down. 

Here are some examples: 

  • I want to be able to support myself while I travel. 
  • I want to live in various places. 
  • I want to be able to have enough time for my kids during the day. 
  • I want to create something that will make the world a better place.

Now, mark the goals that are must-have with M and nice-to-have with N. This will come in handy later on.

2. Understand the core problem 

What problem will your idea solve? The better your problem definition, the better your innovation. All innovation should provide value. Otherwise, what is the point of doing them? 

Your customers will find your idea valuable if you are solving some of their current problems. The bigger the problem, the higher your opportunity to succeed. Not sure if your idea is solving any problem? Read the article on why you should base your innovation on your frustrations. 

Here are some random examples of problems: 

  • Fast fashion does not last long, and production is one of the most polluting industries. 
  • Fast fashion is made of cheap materials which are not always good for the skin and do not last very long. 

Like most of us, you have multiple ideas. Write at least one problem for each. 

3. Choose your criteria 

Now, we are getting to the pragmatic step. You will need to come up with several evaluation criteria based on your goal and the problem you are trying to solve. I know this may seem tedious, but it may be the most valuable thing you will do before committing to one idea

Based on your goals, you may decide to pick criteria such as: 

  • Profitability 
  • Scalability 
  • Opportunity for remote work 
  • Hourly commitment 

Do you have ideas that each tries to solve a different problem? Choose one criterion such as Problem resolution.

Do you have many ideas that solve the same problem? Write down the core of your problem, such as: 

  • Sustainability 
  • Quality 

Write all your ideas and criteria in a table. The ideas will go in a column and the criteria will go in a row. Here is a free idea evaluation template to download. 

The final step is to give a number from 1 - 5 to each criterion based on importance. 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. All the criteria you marked M (must-have) in the first step should be given marks 4 or 5. All criteria that you marked N (nice-to-have) should get a number below 3. 

4. Score your idea 

Go through the list of ideas and assign it a number from 1 - 10 based on how much it meets specific criteria. 10 being the highest score and 1 being the lowest one. 

Let's say one of my ideas is to start an online coaching business. I will rate it high on the 'opportunity for remote work' but low on 'scalability.' 

After I plug in all my ratings, I will multiply each number by my number assigned to my criteria. For example, the online coaching business is 1 on scalability because it is not easily scalable. The importance of scalability was 4 (fairly important). I will multiply 1 x 4, resulting in a total of 4 for scalability. 

In the end, you should get to a final score for each idea. The idea that scored the highest is your best bet. The results are based on your current evaluation of what is essential. If you change your criteria, your scores will change. You need to somewhat know what you want and what is crucial for you. 

You may say: Hey, but the idea that is ranking the highest is not the one I am excited about the most. Well, maybe your criteria for excitement should be added to your table. Just keep in mind, if you give the highest value on excitement, you may be the most excited about it, but it may not be the most profitable. It is the choice that you and only you have to make. 

Once you have your core idea, try to bring it up to the next level with 3 simple games

Good luck and happy innovating.


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