Shuffle and deal: how businesses can improve ways to assess new ideas2017-12-15
With the right mix of skills, intuition become less of a mystery – and new ideas can be assessed more fairly. In a new thesis, Johan Netz, Ph D in Business Administration at CTF, Service Research Center at Karlstad University, has investigated how new ideas are assessed in a screening process.
Johan Netz has investigated how intuitive and rational assessment decision making approaches affects idea screening. The ideas can be about new products or services, new ways of working, or other things that affect daily activities.
When a group use so-called intuitive approaches to assessing ideas, Johan’s research shows that the group’s judgment is primarily based on five criteria: originality, user value, productivity, strategic match with the organization’s resources and goals, as well as profitability. The criteria that is of most importance is user value, which indicates that companies and organizations should base the assessment from a service perspective. The starting point for the assessment should, initially be, to understand the user of the intended innovation, rather than focusing on economic aspects such as profitability or cost saving.
Balanced groups are better at assessing
In his dissertation, Johan also shows that an overly unilateral mix of people can adversely affect the idea assessment.
– A group with a technical perspective tends to be more pessimistic in their assessments. Those who work with customers have, perhaps not surprisingly, a stronger user focus and are more positive to new ideas, while those who work far away from customers in an organization are more often negative and hold back new ideas. This is of great importance for what method is used to generate new ideas. With the wrong mix of people, ideas can die already at the sketch stage, while a balanced group can lift and improve ideas since there is a broader base of experience to compare the new idea with.
Intuition not so mysterious
Intuition has a nearly mysterious sound, but in fact, the results in the study suggest something different.
– Intuition is the sum of our knowledge. We can talk about it as if it is something mysterious, but the classic eureka moment is based on knowledge and experience.
Johan believes that these mechanisms are applicable in many different areas of society, not only in companies and in business. The important thing is to be aware of where one’s own knowledge and experience come from, and that one is influenced by many different factors. If the awareness of this exists in a group, chances are better for new ideas to surface. It can also lead to better decisions.
– I advise leaders in organizations who face an idea screening to think of a football team. When a football team is created, it’s important to have the right mix of players, because everyone cannot be the one who scores all the goals. Goalkeepers, defenders, mid-fielders and offence players are also needed. It is the same for a team who will assess ideas and innovations. The better the mix, the better the process and the better the decision.
Johan Netz PhD defence took place on October 26th at Karlstad University. Read the thesis
First things first - think before you decide