Have you ever let those brainstormed ideas just stay in the meeting reports while you don’t know what should be done first? Or sometimes you may have a whole lot of ideas but you don’t know how to screen them.
There’re actually many techniques for evaluating ideas or creative ideas. Each creativity guru has been proposing different techniques. So, I’ve come up with such evaluation technique in a Thai style. I’ve presented this in several seminars and want to share it with you in this article.
I call it the Now-Next-New Idea. Here’s the principle.
Now Idea is what you can do immediately without financial cost, additional human resource, or new technologies. It can be done right away. Let’s say after leaving the meeting room, you can start doing it. That’s why I call it“Now”.
Next Idea is what should be done as it will certainly yield good result. But this idea need more time, human resource, and improved or better technologies. You should this idea later. That’s why I call it “Next”.
New Idea is creative idea, which is different, new, or hasn’t been thought of or executed. This may yield either good or bad results because you’ve never done it. But the idea shouldn’t be dropped as it may provide considerable benefits. So, the idea should be studied further regarding its pros and cons. This is what I call “New”.
The objective of using this technique to evaluate ideas is to enable you to know which idea should be adopted, and what the right timing to execute it is. More often than not, you tend to neglect simple ideas which can be done right away. Instead, focus is often on great magnificent ideas which are difficult to implement, or those ideas which sound good aren’t practical. So, the technique helps prioritise which ideas should be done first, and which ideas can wait.
For example, I taught this technique to employees of a hospital. They were divided in groups to brainstorm ways for “hospital service improvement”. After they gathered some ideas, they were asked to pick one idea that matched each of the three categories of Now, Next, New. The results are as follows.
Now ideas are smiling at customers, giving Thai ‘wai’ greeting gesture, and using friendly style during phone conversation with customers. These ideas obviously need no financial investment and can be executed right away.
Next ideas are improving IT systems of the hospital, maintaining standard of cleanliness of restrooms, and improving parking lots. These ideas may need some human, financial, and time resources, but they should be executed as they’ll certainly result in benefits.
New ideas are recruiting cute nurses (male patients may like this one.), using fingerprint or voice to control patient rooms, and providing spa service in the hospital. These ideas have never been executed by the hospital. They are out-of-the box ideas and can be considered ‘New’.
In general, I focus on Now Ideas as they can be done right away, and should be carried out now as they obviously results in benefits. To prove whether the ideas can be done immediately and are practical or not, I ask some of the groups to do role play in order to show how it will be in real situation. If you say it can be done right away after leaving the seminar room, you should be able to do it even while still in the room. So a way to prove Now Idea is to do role play.
Next time when you brainstorm or discuss for new ideas, let’s try the “Now-Next-New” technique to screen and prioritise your creative ideas.
Translated by Thaya Wichayathian