4.3 Idea Screening

Idea Screening is the process of comparing and contrasting new product related ideas in order to select the most promising ones for your business.

At some point it is important to reduce the number of ideas. Not all ideas are relevant for your company. To be able to screen the good from the not so good, all ideas need to be evaluated according to some criteria, like strategic fit, technical difficulties, and market opportunities. Limited available resources make it difficult to develop several products at the same time, and a successful idea screening process contributes to a more focused product development process, with a higher possibility of success.

Idea screening helps you reduce the amount of ideas into a manageable amount, which can be developed further into prototypes. The goal is to reduce the number of ideas without screening away “potential diamonds”. Please keep in mind the two potential risks in screening:

  • Dropping ideas too early means missed opportunities.
  • Developing the ‘wrong’ ideas means wasted resources, in terms of time and financial investment, and may put the activities in your current portfolio at risk.

4.3.1 Qualitative Group Screening

Remember! An idea can be really good, but if no one in the company wants to work with the idea, it might as well be screened away. It will never be realized.

Step A: Describe the ideas

    • All ideas are presented on the wall. (On a blackboard or on post-it notes on paper posters).
    • Each person in the idea generation group receives a highlighter pen and chooses all the ideas he/she believes have a potential, e.g 10-20 ideas.
    • Work with the 10-20 chosen ideas
      • make sure they are based on a consumer need,
      • write down stories about the consumers experience of the idea/ concept,
      • look for obstacles and potential solutions.
      • Try to make a plan for a step by step realization. (For more information see the conceptualization stage)
    • Post the idea concepts on the wall.

Step B: Screen the ideas

    • Give a red sticker to each participant and make them put it on the idea their heart/ gut feeling would like to realize
    • Ask them to put a yellow sticker on the idea they think will be the most successful if realized.
    • To put a green sticker on the idea they believe in the most.
    • And finally put a blue sticker on the idea that is of greatest importance to the company
    • Put specific names on the idea(s) you personally would like to take responsibility for, and on the ideas you would like to support. Ideas without a person responsible for them should be rejected. The coloured stickers should then decide which and how many ideas to take further and which one to reject, and could also decide which one to start with. Ideas with many hearts are more likely to succeed, because someone in the company wants to take them further. These ideas should be chosen first.


4.3.2 Quantitative Screening

Important attributes for evaluating the ideas are defined.

Option 1:

  • Give the attributes an importance-score from 1-10 (10 = most important)
  • Rate each idea for each attribute from 1-10. (10 = good score on the attribute, eg taste)
  • The ideas with the highest scores are chosen

Option 2:

  • Define outcomes and rate them for probability and importance
  • Give each idea a score on probability for the outcome, and the importance if it happens.
  • The ideas with the highest scores are chosen




LLP/LdV/TOI/2011/IRL-502 This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. The author is solely responsible for this publication (communication) and the Commission accepts no responsibility for any use may be made of the information contained therein.