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The Innovator's Toolkit: 50+ Techniques for Predictable and Sustainable Organic Growth, 2nd Edition by Neil DeCarlo, Philip Samuel, David Silverstein

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Technique 31

Idea Sorting and Refinement

Organize and shape ideas to improve their yield.

 

Idea sorting and refinement is a simple and effective way to make your ideas more practical and viable, as well as more appealing to those who are funding the innovation project (your stakeholders). After you've generated dozens of ideas for a better battery, do you just throw out the notion of making the battery biodegradable, or can you find some value in this?

What about your other ideas? Are they immediately applicable or do you need to overcome some constraints, such as cost, time, resources, or perception? Idea sorting and refinement can help you answer these questions and subsequently choose the best ideas from your list for further development.

You would not think much of a farmer who took a lot of trouble to sow a crop but only bothered to harvest a quarter of the crop. Yet that is exactly what most people do with the output of a creative thinking session.

—Edward de Bono

Steps—Sorting

Scenario: Let's say that your organization has a new innovation deployment. Your team has generated a list of ideas for publicizing the program's success both internally and externally. You can use idea sorting and refinement to organize and further refine these ideas.

1. Categorize Existing Ideas

Take the list of ideas you've already come up with and place them into the following categories on an idea-sorting matrix (Exhibit 31.1):

  • Broad Concept: Theory or notion that links one or more concepts. ...

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