Ranking Your Ideas – How to make sure you are working on the best ideas

Success is not defined by the ability generate a large number of ideas. Success is to find the best ideas to focus your limited time and resources on. Through a process of ranking your ideas, you can find those ideas that will justify your time and energy.

ranking your ideas

Ranking Your Big Ideas

  • The purpose of ranking is to ensure you are working on the best ideas that will have the most impact
  • Step 1: Rank the best ideas (most impact)
    • Rank each of the following ideas (0 = lowest, 5 = highest)
      • Will this idea change/improve the customer experience/expectation?
        • How does it improve the experience/expectation?
        • How could you measure this improvement?
        • Does the customer value the improvement?
      • Will this idea change the competitive landscape?
        • How does this idea re-position you against the competitors?
        • What would the competitive reaction be?
        • Does the idea create a sustained barrier to entry for competitors (does the change have long lasting benefit)?
      • Will this idea change the economic structure of the industry?
        • What is the current value chain? (position, margin, etc)
        • What would be the new value chain? (position, margin, etc)
        • How easy/hard would it be to get the ecosystem partners/value chain to change?
    • For this question where at least one of the questions had a 4 or a 5 … ask the following three question …
      • Do you have a contribution to make?
        • Is this aligned with the general space you are in? (direct or adjacency)
        • Is this aligned with your core expertise and capabilities?
      • Will this idea generate sufficient margin?
        • Is the TAM (total addressable market) big enough?
        • Can you price the product to secure sufficient margin?
        • Does the overall return (total lifetime R&D compared to lifetime margin) exceed the hurdle rate?  (e.g. min 5 times return of margin against R&D)
    • Now rank the ideas and come up with a short list (top 10 or top 20) …
    • Ask the following questions to determine if your organization is ready to take on the project (ability to execute) …
      • Can we get our teams excited?
        • Is there enough sizzle with the steak? (vision)
        • Is there a way to “demo” what the end result to be so that executives can “see” it?
      • Will senior management support it?
        • Is the total investment aligned with the overall ability to fund?
        • Is this generally aligned with the direction & strategy of the business?
      • Do we have the skill and expertise to pull this off?
        • What skills are needed?
        • What skills are missing from the organization?
        • Could we free up critical skills to work on this project?
      • Can we access the customers preferred channel?
        • What channel does the customer purchase from?
        • Do we have GTM (go-to-market) to this channel or do we need to created a new GTM approach?
    • Now rank your ideas against these question (top score is 20)
    • Take the top 2 to 3 ideas and prepare “idea pitches” and present to a number of groups within the organization … taking input and improving the pitch each time.
      • Pitch should be 10/20/30 (as defined by Guy Kawasaki)
        • 10 slides
        • 20 minutes max
        • Nothing less than a 30 point font
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