How We Come up with New Ideas: Part 2

October 26, 2012

In our last post on brainstorming techniques we shared with you some tips on how to produce and generate ideas. Today we would like to take the next step and see how different ideas might be evaluated and considered by a group.

Plus, Minus, Interesting (PMI)

We use this approach when it is hard to choose from several ideas. It helps to estimate each of it and take considerable decision.

How to use it: Draw up three columns on a piece of paper. Head them ‘Plus’, ‘Minus’, and ‘Interesting’. Write the arguments and score them. The scores you assign may be quite subjective. Once you have done this, add up the score.

For example, this is a table of PMI in case of job promotion offer:

Looking at sum in each column, you can make a conclusion which decision is the best for you and whether  it really worth trying.  It is important to check if the idea is going to improve the situation, before you move straight to action (it may actually be best to do nothing :).

Six Thinking Hats

It is a good exercise for group work, while it is important to have different visions on the same idea/problem. This forces you to move outside your habitual thinking style, and helps you to get a more rounded view of a situation.

How it works: each ‘Thinking Hat’ is a different style of thinking. Every participant step by step puts on a different hat.

  • White Hat – thinking hat. Wearing it, you have to focus on the data available. Look for gaps in your knowledge, and either try to fill them or take account of them.
  • Red Hat –  look at problems using intuition, gut reaction, and emotion. Also, try to think of how other people will react emotionally.
  • Black Hat – look at all the bad points of the decision, see why it might not work. It helps to make your plans ‘tougher’ and more resilient
  • Yellow Hat – think positively; see all the benefits of the decision and the value in it.
  • Green Hat – develop creative solutions to a problem. It is a freewheeling way of thinking, in which there is little criticism of ideas.
  • Blue Hat is worn by a moderator. When running into difficulties because ideas are running low, they may direct activity into Green Hat thinking and so on

We always enjoy sharing our work experience with you. Hope, it will help you to look differently at your company’s thinking processes and come up with even more new ideas. There’s also a lot of things we plan to write about in the future. Stay tuned!