Your wall of ideas is filled with hundreds of ideas! The time has come to make a selection. What are the really promising ideas? Use the innovation matrix and the ranking system on this page to filter out the best ideas.
THE WALL OF IDEAS
In one of our previous blogs about ‘How to create a thousand ideas in no time’ we created the Wall of Ideas for Tesla. Now that we have generated hundreds of ideas, it’s time to make a selection. What are the really promising ideas? This is where many teams get stuck. What’s needed is a simple way to categorize ideas with respect to the Design Criteria you defined earlier.
HOW TO USE THE INNOVATION MATRIX
We humans are fantastic at categorizing things. We spend much of our professional lives categorizing and sub-categorizing the work we do. When it comes to pairing down your wall of ideas, a 2×2 matrix is a perfect tool to harness our innate ability to categorize.
The innovation matrix lays out rows delineating incremental and substantial changes, and columns delineating reducing cost and increasing revenues. You can certainly use your own decision criteria for the rows and columns. Whatever criteria you choose, make sure it has clear distinctions that will help you organize your ideas and select the ones to move into prototyping and validation.
To use the innovation matrix, pull your ideas off the wall or canvas and, as a team, discuss where each idea belongs on the matrix. Unless you’ve modified the canvas to represent your own axes, the discussions you have at this point are not about feasibility or even viability. They’re about the potential for change. Is it an incremental change, one that your company could take on with little work or resources? That idea should probably placed in the bottom half of the matrix. Is it an idea for generating more revenue? The right half is where that one belongs.
GO BIG OR GO HOME
This tool is designed to separate the ideas that result in incremental, easy-to-accomplish changes from the ones that will make a big difference. For instance, an idea to reduce costs by mandating that everyone print double-sided pages is incremental and small. Sure, for a large company, this could certainly reduce operational costs. However, it’s probably a change that can and should be implemented anyway. A big change will cause bigger shifts. These ideas will show up in the top quadrants of the matrix.
Ask fire starter questions or do an ‘into space’ exercise to push the boundaries and get people think bigger. When the matrix is completely filled up, you might even distribute thes to people who can take them further. But the ones on the top make the biggest changes.
INNOVATION CANVAS FOR TESLA
Above you can see the Innovation Canvas for Tesla. On the left side on the top you see ‘Tesla robots build everything in factories’, which is a substantial change that will reduce the costs of Tesla. Another one, ‘build distributes network of micro manufacturing plans’ is in between an substantial and incremental change, and this semi-big change will lead to reducing cost. ‘Tesla goes totally paperless for everything’, is not a big change, but it will reduce paper and printing costs.
On the right side you see big changes like ‘Tesla Robots’ and ‘Tesla energy for home’. These changes are substantial and will lead to increasing revenues. The riskiest assumption ‘ Tesla rockets that bring you to other cities or even planets in no time’ is more in the middle, because we don’t know if people will use these rockets, so we are not sure if the revenues will increase that much. Small changes such as Tesla boats, bikes, trains, subways, Tesla cars especially for women or business people, are incremental changes but will increase the revenues of Tesla.
Once you filled the Wall of Ideas, what are you most promising ideas? Use the innovation matrix and the ranking system on this page to filter out the best ideas, together with your team. When you find people sticking to small, incremental ideas on the bottom half of the matrix, you’ll need to find ways, such as fire starter questions or an “into space” exercise, to push the boundaries and get people thinking bigger. There could be low-hanging fruit in any one of the quadrants that represent quick wins. When the matrix is completely filled up, you might even distribute these to people who can take them further. But the ones on the top make the biggest changes.
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