Challenge your ideas

Do you make a list of your ideas? Do you honestly evaluate them the same way you evaluate a client idea? The thing is, we all suck at this.

Under a very long time in my career, I had a lot of ideas. I still do. I practice the Idea Machine every morning and produce at least ten ideas a day. Some are good. Most of them are not.

After I while I have a ton of ”good” ideas. When I read thru the literature and blog post I find good advice on how to make one specific idea better but never what I need. In my consulting activities, I evaluate an idea with methods like Business Model Canvas, Lean Startup and a variety of other tools. But if I apply those it would take me hours for each idea which of course isn’t feasible. If I just wrote a list and added a star that might say. ”Best Idea” It wouldn’t be sufficient either. So I needed a middle way. I call it Idea Challenge.

The match

Think of it as a fighting match. In the red corner idea A. With 30 months of shelf time. Five wins and no losses. In the blue corner idea B. Fresh from this morning Idea Machine session.

First round. The two ideas meet and fight over the first criteria, energy. How much energy do you get by thinking of these two ideas? Which of them are the best?

Second round goes to your knowledge and experience within the area? How much do you know about the subject?

The third round is the execution. How likely is it that you and your network of people can get this to happen? Do you have what you need to fix this?

The scale is for each round. 0 = loss. 1 = draw. 2 = win by points. 3 = Knock Out. You could have your own scale. This is just my template.

It might be tempting to add a ton of more criteria. But don’t. Remove one if needed.

Evaluate the match. What are the lessons learned? Why did one idea perform better than another? Can I change anything? Can I mix? This is the most important part to evaluate each match.

Leaderboard

Create a leaderboard of your best ideas that have done some matches and won. Soon you might see a pattern, which ideas that stand a chance.

Right now my leaderboard for a new book looks like this wins and loss:

  1. Challenge Your Ideas 5–0
  2. Lazy but effective 3–1
  3. Swedish Inventors that changed the world 2–1

Conclusion

Work on your ideas. Challenge them. And when you have at least try to see if they stick then present them to your team. Otherwise, all team meetings will just end up as Brainstorming sessions. And I kinda hate Brainstorming.