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From Brainwave to Boardroom: Idea Assessment and Prioritizer Framework - F06

Updated: Apr 4

You're in the middle of a meeting, a workout, a conversation, or maybe just taking a shower, and bam—an idea hits you. It seems groundbreaking, a surefire hit, maybe even practical, and holds the potential to impact your organization’s north star. But if you're anything like most people, your notepad or smartphone is probably overflowing with such eureka moments, and yet, not all of them see the light of day.


Let’s face it, ideas are the easy part. They come to us in droves, often more like a burst of confetti than a single lightbulb moment. The real deal is figuring out which ones are gold and which ones are, well, just glitter. That’s where the magic of a good, hard look at potential comes in. It’s not about dampening creativity; it’s about channeling it—making sure we’re not just chasing every shiny object, but giving the real gems the attention and resources they deserve.


Building a culture that doesn’t just churn out ideas but also takes the time to vet them is a game-changer. It’s about creating a space where every spark of innovation is given its due diligence and sifted through a fine mesh of strategy and insight.


Enter the Idea Assessment and Prioritizer Framework, a framework that structures your critical and strategic thinking and helps you evaluate the potential of an idea. I’ve taken inspiration from the Value vs. Complexity Quadrant and this framework has been a guiding light when I need to convince others about the potential my idea holds (a great example of data-driven decision-making btw). It's a practical, hands-on guide to help you sort the wheat from the chaff. With this in your arsenal, you can navigate the maze of innovation with confidence, ensuring that when you do decide to run with an idea, it's one that's backed up with data and not just intuition.


Buckle up; it's time to turn those "maybes" and "what-ifs" into "let's do this."


The Litmus Test for Your Next Big Thing


Picture your ideas as a colorful array of balloons, each vying to soar higher than the rest. Now, as much as we’d love to let them all fly, not every balloon is destined for the skies. Some might have the right stuff, but others could be lacking that essential burst of helium. That's where our Idea Assessment and Prioritizer Framework comes into play.


Sorting the Sky-High from the Grounded 

First things first, let's get real about what we’re dealing with. Ideas can range from those 'aha' moments that promise to shake up the market, to the whispers of incremental change. Before we get lost in the dreamy potential of each, we need to sort them out. It’s like organizing a deck of cards—some are high-value aces, and others, while still important, are more like the number twos and threes.


Sizing Up the Prize – Estimating Business Impact



A graph representing Anirudh Kuthiala's Framework from Framework Garage Consulting, showcasing a series of blue balloons plotted against two axes labeled 'Business Value' and 'Complexity and Effort.' The balloons appear at various heights and distances from the origin point, symbolizing the strategic thinking and critical evaluation of business ideas based on their value and implementation complexity.
Balloons = Ideas

Let's zoom in on the "Business Value" axis of our framework. We're talking about the potential rewards your idea can reap for your business. Estimating this value is part art, part science, and a whole lot of strategic forecasting.


You don’t want your business impact assessment to turn into a full-time job. The goal here is to get a reliable estimate that doesn’t bog you down with excessive number-crunching. To keep it light, we’re going to use a simple 1 to 10 scale.


  • 1 being the equivalent of "Nice idea, but it’s not moving the needle for us,"

  • 10 representing "This idea is so hot, it sizzles – it's a total game-changer."

The Variables that Count Consider the following factors when assigning your business impact number:

  • Projected Revenue Increase: How much green is this idea expected to bring in over a specific time frame?

  • Cost Savings: Will this idea trim the fat in your operations?

  • Customer Satisfaction and Retention (substitute as per your business KPI): Is this idea going to improve a KPI? These KPIs should be the ones where if they move, it impacts your North Star metric.



Math Made Easy: Simplifying the Complexity Now, let's tackle the "Complexity and Effort" side of the equation (x-axis). Again, we're not launching a space shuttle here; we're giving each idea a complexity score from 1 to 10:

  • 1 for "We could do this in a few hours/2 days"

  • 10 for "We’ll need more data, better tech stack, and more people."



Think about the resources, the time, and the expertise this idea needs to be brought to life. In most cases, you don’t alone control bringing the idea to reality so ensure input from all teams involved - Product, Engineering, Go To Market, Customer Service, Marketing, Sales, etc. Consider potential roadblocks and the learning curve involved.


The Four Quadrants of Fate 

Now, imagine a grid, a simple one with four boxes. It's the playground where ideas come to prove their mettle. On one axis, we’ve got Business Value—how much impact whether in terms of money or a Key Performance Indicator (KPI), this idea is going to give you. On the other, there's Complexity and Effort—basically, how much sweat, time, and treasure you and others will need to invest to bring this idea to life.



An animated GIF titled 'The Four Quadrants of Fate' presented by Framework Garage Consulting, featuring a blank two-dimensional graph with a vertical axis labeled 'Business Value' and a horizontal axis labeled 'Complexity and Effort.' The graph, associated with Anirudh Kuthiala’s strategic thinking and critical thinking methodologies, is set against a deep blue background with the company's logo in the upper right corner, indicating a professional, analytical tool used for assessing business ideas.


  • Quick Wins: These are your low-hanging fruit. High on value and low on effort, they’re the ideas you can implement swiftly for quick gains.


  • Major Projects, Big Bets: These ideas are the blockbusters. They demand more from you, but the potential rewards are worth the spotlight.


  • Nice to Have: Comfortable but not compelling. They're good, but they don't move the needle much.


  • Ineffective Investments: Here lie the duds. They eat up resources and offer little in return. Unless legally required or a part of some bigger migration initiative to modernize, most of the time you’ve got to let them go.


In the following section, we’ll dive deeper into each quadrant, unraveling the gut checks that will help you decide which balloon gets a ticket to the clouds.



Navigating the Quadrants – The Idea Assessment Compass


Quick Wins: The Sprinters of Innovation 

These ideas are the ones that make you think, “Why didn't we do this sooner?” They’re the low-cost, high-impact darlings that can boost morale and show results without breaking a sweat. But don't be fooled—quick doesn't mean careless. Be sure to vet these for alignment with your business goals, ensuring they're not just quick but also impactful.


Major Projects, Big Bets: The Marathoners with a Mission 

These are your long-term, potentially game-changing initiatives that require more resources and a sound strategy along with a roadmap. They hold the potential to make the biggest impact on a business’s growth.


Nice to Have: The Steady Eds of the Bunch 

Here’s to the ideas that aren’t urgent but are not to be ignored. They might not cause a seismic shift, but they could improve something, or just add that extra bit of polish. They’re your 'someday' pile—good to have in your backlog and work on when there is nothing high priority.


Ineffective Investments: The Hard Goodbyes 

These ideas looked good on paper but just didn’t stack up on value in reality. These ideas unless mandatory, are poor investment of resources.


How do you decide between multiple quick wins or major projects?


A Priority Score 

With both value and complexity boiled down to a scale, you can calculate a Priority Score.

Priority Score = Complexity / Value


Once you've got your Priority Scores, sort your ideas in descending order. What you have now is a leaderboard of your business ideas, from the most impactful and feasible to the least. It’s a clear-cut, at-a-glance view of where to focus your efforts first.



An animated GIF showcasing 'The Four Quadrants of Fate' by Anirudh Kuthiala from Framework Garage Consulting. The graph displays four distinct quadrants labeled 'Quick Wins,' 'Major Projects & Big Bets,' 'Nice to Have,' and 'Ineffective Investments,' with colored balloons in varying sizes representing ideas positioned according to their business value and complexity and effort. The yellow vertical axis indicates business value, and the orange horizontal axis signifies complexity and effort, demonstrating a strategic thinking model for prioritizing business initiatives.
Calculate a priority score

From the Drawing Board to a Meeting – Making the Idea Prioritization Framework Operational


All right, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. We've mapped out the quadrants, sized up our ideas, and can define priority for each idea.

  • But how do we move from this high-level strategy to actionable steps?

  • How do we engrain this framework into the daily hustle and bustle of our business operations?


Step One: Idea Inventory – The Gathering 

Kick things off by gathering all those idea balloons – every last one of them. You could also make this a team sport. That’ll make it easy to secure peer and stakeholder alignment later. Get input from people invested in improving the same KPIs as you, and don’t shy away from those wild-card entries. This is your idea bank, and it’s time for a deposit.



Step Two: The Sorting Hat – Idea Categorization 

Now, with your full idea inventory on hand, start sorting. Use the framework as the sorting hat, placing each idea into its rightful quadrant. Remember, this isn't set in stone – as new information comes to light, ideas can and should move between quadrants.



Step Three: The Deep Dive – Rigorous Evaluation 

It's time for that deep dive. Take each idea and scrutinize the variables and the math in the business impact calculation. This is where business acumen comes into play. There’s absolutely no rule to do this alone. Involve people to poke holes in your assumptions. It’s important to establish yourself as the idea generator so everyone you are working with knows where the idea originated from.



Step Four: The Lineup – Prioritization 

With your ideas categorized and evaluated, you can now start prioritizing using the priority score. This is the decision-making phase, where you line up your players and decide who gets to play in the big leagues.



Step Five: The Launch Pad – Idea Implementation 

Selected ideas are now ready for take-off. This is where the planning meets execution. Assign teams, allocate resources, and set those wheels in motion. Keep a close eye on progress and be ready to pivot when needed. Remember, no plan survives contact with the market unscathed.



Step Six: The Review – Post-Implementation Analysis 

After your ideas have had some time in the sun, gather data on their performance. Celebrate the wins, learn from the losses (nice segway into the LEARN Framework), and always, always look for lessons to refine your process for the next round.



Wrap-Up


Adopting the Idea Assessment and Prioritizer Framework isn't a one-off event; it's a commitment to a living process. It’s about embedding a mindset of strategic evaluation into the DNA of your company's culture. It’s iterative, it’s dynamic, and it’ll keep you sharp in a game that’s constantly changing.



 

Ready to Transform Ideas into Impactful Business Strategies?

While the Idea Assessment and Prioritizer Framework equip you with the methodology to sift through and prioritize your business ideas by impact, the foundation that needs to be available for this assessment lies in a robust Business Intelligence infrastructure. It's not just about having data at your fingertips; it’s about understanding the nuances of what drives your KPIs and how to leverage those insights effectively.


At Framework Garage Consulting, I, specialize in optimizing the Business Intelligence that doesn't just feed you data but also enlightens you on the why and how of your business metrics. If you are looking to foster a culture of data-informed decision-making, I can help you build and implement the roadmap. Schedule time to discuss your challenges or contact me at ani@frameworkgarage.com.



 

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The logo of Framework Garage Consulting by Anirudh Kuthiala, depicting a sophisticated blend of a light bulb and gear iconography that represents a synergy of analytics, data strategy, and consulting excellence. The design symbolizes the illumination of insights through analytics and the strategic planning of data, central to the consulting services offered. The company's name is prominently displayed around the emblem, encapsulating its commitment to innovative and strategic solutions in the data-driven business landscape.

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