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  • How to Identify a Kick-A#! Idea: The 4Rs

Every professional has an abiding interest in evaluating their ideas; after all, ideas lead to innovations. But bringing something new to life is risky and often ends in throwing lots of money down the drain. "About 95 percent of new products fail," according to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. To minimize risks, there are numerous methods to analyze the quality of an idea. They often imply parameters such as whether the idea is applicable, effective and implementable. But are those guidelines enough to evaluate the quality of an idea? When faced with something new, consider these aspects as well.

Do you feel it?

In “Stairway to Heaven,” legendary rock group Led Zeppelin sang, "There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west // And my spirit is crying for leaving.” The same goes for ideation: There should be a feeling you get when you look at your idea, and your spirit should be euphoric to roll it out!

Why? If you are emotionally attached to an idea, you are convinced, determined and resilient when faced with tough market conditions. Therefore, it does make sense to evaluate an idea from an emotional point of view.

Will people believe you?

An entrepreneur once entered a food store and offered the owner high-quality chocolate bars to sell. The owner asked him, "How do I know if your chocolate is good?" The entrepreneur responded, “I'm Belgian!” As Belgians are famous for producing high-quality chocolate, the shop owner immediately felt convinced. In the same way, venture capitalists not only invest in an idea but even more so in the team’s skills. Therefore, it’s also important to take into account the individual’s prowess when evaluating an idea.

Do you remember it?

Any evaluation method should be easy to grasp for employees of all levels. This method therefore contains only four dimensions: resonance, resources, relevance and rock ’n’ roll. The method is called the iQudo 4Rs.

The 4Rs

The 4Rs can be applied to almost every ideation context, be it developing a new product, inventing a new business model or even, as Markus Kröger does at the University of Helsinki, to help students choose a topic for their thesis.

Do you have the Resources?

The first “R” assesses the idea from an economic point of view. A resource is anything needed to get an idea rolling, including capital, people, equipment, time or knowledge.

Ask: Do I have the time, money, people, knowledge or any other asset needed to follow through on this idea? If not, what’s missing? Is there a reasonable way to obtain the resources?

Does it Resonate with you?

The second “R” analyzes the idea from the creator’s point of view. Resonance occurs when the idea resonates with the skills and aspirations of an individual or with the company’s values and vision.

Ask: Does the idea resonate with my talents, skills or desires? Is it meaningful to me? Does the idea resonate with our company’s core values? Is the idea in line with our strategy? Does the brand’s core remain intact? Does the idea evolve our DNA?

Is it Relevant to anyone?

The third “R” evaluates the idea from the recipients’ point of view. It’s about the value of your idea to the market. Relevance can also relate to the impact your idea has on the well-being of our planet.

Ask: Is the idea needed? Is it unique? Will it stand out against the competition? Will it satisfy the needs or wants of old and/or new customers? Does it make the world a better place?

Are you thrilled about the idea?

The fourth “R” (Rock ‘n’ roll) rates the idea from an emotional perspective. A kick-ass idea triggers you emotionally. It lets you feel "Innovator’s High.”

Ask: Is the idea amping me up? Am I willing to invest my time and my money?

Because kick-ass ideas are often unusual and therefore can cause fear among employees, questions on a corporate level differ. You may therefore ask: does the idea lead to intense discussions? If so, why are some people strongly against the idea, while others are in favor of it?

Of course, there is no magic formula to finding the right idea. The creative game is by nature unpredictable. But the 4Rs do a pretty good job of laying the groundwork for success.

Driven by the question “Why am I creative in one company and not in another?”, Robert Gerlach founded the training academy iQudo® sport of ideas in 2006 and recently published the creativity self-help book “Innovator’s High.” As a creativity coach, he has pioneered the invention of new methodologies to help facilitate creative knowledge for designers, employees and managers of numerous companies, such as Amway, BASF, Microsoft, Samsung and SAP.

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