The Idea assessment canvas

4 mins read

The starting point of the posts of the five elements was the question of how to recognize a good idea for organizational renewal. Now you know the details of the five elements (identity, reality, creativity, clarity, superiority) that contribute to the selection of a good idea. It’s time for a summary.

In a recent interview, management thinker Roger L. Martin has emphasized that the future cannot be judged on the basis of quantitative data. Therefore, there is only the possibility to use the old method of Aristotle: argumentation. This means using and appreciating qualitative facts about trends, capabilities, etc., and applying some rhetoric. Among a group of colleagues, this tactic can be a bit cumbersome and lengthy.

To structure and simplify the discussion process, you can use the following tool. The tool guides you through the elements and aims to bring in some numbers. You will receive a rating for each item and a total score. Then you decide on one or more ideas, which you then test and refine.

Tool: The idea assessment canvas

1st step: Header

The header contains two questions. One question is whether the idea falls into the scope of the challenge. The other question tests the potential of the idea. The two questions serve as confirmation that you should explore the idea in more detail. Just have people in a group vote by hand and collect some opinions and views. With a majority of people having interest in the idea, go to the second step.

2nd step: Elements

Each item contains a few questions and categories. First, have the participants rate the items on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high) alone. Then transfer the individual ratings to a large canvas. The distribution and the average rating among the participants is thereby visualized. Speak to those who have the lowest and highest scores to record their thoughts and views. If valuable thoughts are expressed, jot them down on sticky notes. Mark the average rating for the item.

Continue the process for all elements and connect the ratings with a line. Find the total score and place it in the upper right corner area.

The result is a representation of how well the idea corresponds to the five elements. A high rating of the elements improves the chances of successfully advancing an organization on the evolutionary path. But do not be surprised if you have a very compelling idea that does not fit the elements. This is probably a moonshot idea that should be tested outside the existing organization (in a lab or in a new organization).

3rd step: Idea sorting

When you have completed the assessment for different ideas, it is time to choose the best ideas. You see the ideas in direct comparison. You can arrange the ideas and choose one to three for testing. Keep the other ideas ready if you want to switch to another idea later.

The overall process gives each participant the same voice and also captures the diversity of opinions. The group is challenged to be honest on how an idea matches the five elements. Group think or the influence of “heavyweights” in the group is almost eliminated.

Once you’ve decided on your favorite ideas, you probably need a team – a venture team – to take care of the idea. So far, only one decision has been made. Many more decisions will follow during the implementation of the ideas. It is very likely that the participants have to reflect their learning effects. Thus, all persons involved in the main decision have the greatest opportunity to learn.

Congratulations, you worked your way through the five elements. The result is a canvas that will help your future decision making.

Surely you have found that you have to think about the five elements. An autopilot mode does not work well here. Admittedly, it can be tedious to evaluate the five elements in a given context.

The effort is worth it. When you immerse yourself in the five elements, you gain a better sense of the topic. You will be poised and strengthen self-efficacy. You can pick up and fix the weaknesses early. You definitely know why you prefer an option and can answer the question of the “right to win”.

Please provide feedback in case you use the canvas in your context (kontakt@holgerlaabs.de or linkedin inmail). It would be great to know what you like or dislike about the canvas and its application.

Please let me know if you would like further guidance or assistance in collecting the various details and views.

Now you deserve a little break. The next post will be less technical and dry. It’s about how to use liquids to increase productivity. Do not miss a post and sign up for the monthly newsletter!

If you missed the canvas for download so far, here is a DOWNLOAD link.

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I work with clients who have the courage to grow.

Dr. Holger Laabs

founder and CEO
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