Assess the strength of your ideas

Contents of this chapter
In this chapter I will walk you through the process of reducing the longlist of ideas generated in chapter 2 into a few very strong, innovative ideas, on which value propositions can be build in chapter 4.

Group size
3 – 5

Time investment

Preparation time


In the previous chapter I have taught you how so successfully generate ideas to innovate your business. Today I will explain how to identify their viability and potential risks, by assessing the market’s attractiveness and the competitive edge of your ideas.

As you have learned in chapter 2, some organisations have a culture in which people find it very easy to generate new ideas, in other organisations it might be a bit more difficult. However, it is not necessarily about the number of ideas, but the strength of the ideas.

If there is one thing I’ve learned working on new innovative ideas it’s to kill your darlings, focus on the ideas with most promise, and validate and execute them well. Later on in this innovation playbook you will learn that an idea in itself is only the beginning, it’s all about the value proposition. However, we will dive into that in the next chapter, let’s focus on selecting your most promising ideas for now.

I’m sure this session will result in interesting discussions, so I wish you and your team lots of fun.

Noud van Alem

Chief Growth Officer / Public Speaker

Step #1: Reduce the number of ideas you have brainstormed in chapter 2

Today we will continue working on the ideas you and your team have generated in chapter 2. You probably have a whole bunch of idea's, so first we will reduce the number of ideas to a number of ideas of which we will determine the strength later on in this session. 

I often use this voting system and an evaluation based on the ICE framework.

Step 1:

The facilitator sticks or tapes the post-its from the ideation session on the wall

Step 2:

The facilitator groups the ideas into categories and if necessary asks for clarification from the idea owner

Step 3:

The facilitator hands out a certain number of voting stickers (e.g., 3 per person) and provides some certain, context specific, conditions (e.g., don’t vote on your own idea)


Step 4:

All participants put a maximum of 1 sticker per idea that they like

Step 5:

The facilitator selects all post-its that have a certain number of votes (e.g., all ideas with more than 2 votes). You should not have around 10, but not more than 15 ideas

Step 6:

The number of ideas has been reduced, now we can proceed to step #2

Step #2: 10 types of innovation

You have reduced the number of ideas generated in the ideation session. We will now continue working with the remaining ideas. To test their strength, we will use the "10 types of innovation" framework.

10 types of innovation framework


Breakthrough innovations are often delivered by combining several of the 10 types of innovation.

The framework contains of 3 main pillars: configuration (how you organize your business​), offering (what you offer to your customers​) and experience (how you deliver your products and services and interact with customers).

You can use the 10 types of innovation framework to help your innovation efforts in many ways. It can be a diagnostic tool to assess how you’re approaching innovation internally, it can help you analyze your competitive environment, and it can reveal gaps and potential opportunities for doing something different and upending the market.

We are going to use this framework to assess the strength of your business ideas in step #3. But first allow me to explain the 3 main pillars of the framework in a bit more detail.

These types of innovation are focused on the innermost workings of an enterprise and its business system.

These types of innovation are focused on an enterprise’s core product or service, or a collection of its products and services.

These types of innovation are focused on more customer-facing elements of an enterprise and its business system.

Step #3: Assess the strength of your innovation, the market attractiveness and the competitive edge of your innovation

We will continue this session with 3 team assignments, using the "10 types of innovation" framework.

Assignment #1: rate the strength of the innovation (20 min)

First we are going to rate the strength of each idea. I suggest to draw out the “type of innovation” visual, as shown on the right, on a whiteboard. Then take about 10 minutes for each of the two tasks below.

  • Have individual team members rate the strength of the innovation on each of the 10 types of innovation with voting stickers, using a 5 point scale. Take into account:

    0 – No innovation
    1 – Minor innovation
    2 – Modest innovation
    3 – Relevant innovation 
    4 – Strong innovation
    5 – Very strong innovation

  • Have the team briefly discuss the outcome and agrees on (a first rough) assessment of the innovation strength (does not have to be 100% perfect) and what could / should be added

Strength of the innovation

In this example we have added a marking for a hypothetical current situation and an aspiration.

Attractiveness and competitive edge

Assignment #2: rate the innovation opportunity (20 min)

Now draw out the visual on the left. The first 7 rows determine the market attractiveness. The last 7 rows determine the competitive advantage of your idea.

Your ideas will be ranked on a scale of 1 – 5, where a 5 entails that your idea fully matches the statement. All scores combined make up an average score for both market attractiveness and competitive advantage.

Note: make sure the team is realistic and aware of assumptions

  • Have individual team members rate the attractiveness and competitive edge for the playground. Plot the averages on a matrix, as shown below “innovation opportunity assessment” table. 
  • Have the team briefly discuss the outcomes and agree on a first rough assessment of the innovation opportunity

Assignment #3: formulate key take outs (10 min)

It’s time to wrap up the session. Consider the meeting a success if you have:

  • Agreed on 3 key take outs / insights with respect to your playground
  • An energised team that’s looking forward to the next session.



To make this prioritisation session a success, use the following best-practices:

  • Create a safe environment. All team member should feel free to speak
  • Keep your focus on the process. Don’t get sidetracked
  • Keep the energy up. Avoid negativity, device checking and energy draining commentary
  • One conversation at a time



Use the following don’ts to improve your prioritisation session even further:

  • Don’t judge, let the discussion develop
  • Don’t think you know it all. Be aware of assumptions

Practical Checklist


Use this tested checklist to make sure your workshop will run smoothly.

Space & Room

  • Choose a space and make a reservation
  • Space: Make sure you have enough space for all the participants
  • The room is a natural environment that encourages creativity, plenty of daylight has good ventilation and no echo

Brainstorming Material

  • Paper
  • Sticky notes with a range of colors
  • Markers (different colors)
  • Elevated tables & chairs: Encourage participation in team process
  • Whiteboards & Flipcharts


  • Tape
  • Pencils
  • Beamer/Screen for presentations

Food & Drinks:

  • Availability of coffee, tea, and water
  • Availability of food and snacks


You have reduced the number of ideas created in chapter 2 to a small number of very strong and innovative business ideas, taken into account their potential risks, the market’s attractiveness and their competitive edge.

Next up: chapter 4. In this lesson we will start exploring the value propositions for your ideas. Good Luck!

Best, Noud

Lesson 4: Value propositions