How to Prioritize Ideas Efficiently and Effectively

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Have you and your team ever found yourselves in a situation where the amount of ideas you’ve come up with during innovation or planning outweighs the resources you have to work on them? Or maybe you know what it feels like to need external help validating or disproving a hypothesis before making any moves.

Test Early and Often to Fail Fast

Many researchers, marketers, and product teams face situations in which they’re forced to take a number of innovative ideas and only move forward with one. While this sometimes feels unfair, the reality is that pursuing a large number of concepts is not only time consuming but also exhausting in terms of manpower and money.

Further, with between 70 and 90 percent of new product launches failing—regardless of if you’re in the CPG, tech, or other industries—not every new idea can be pursued. So if a concept is going to fail, it’s better to fail fast—and early on in the development stage. And when we say to test often, we mean taking an iterative approach to testing ideas. This includes specifying all the requirements for a project at the beginning, with short bursts of work being sliced off at predetermined times or as pieces are completed.

Grounded in incremental progress, this strategy relies on a concise, careful planning process in order to ensure that the correct requirements will be met in order to move on to the next step in development. Additionally, it’s essential in the early phases of concept development and prioritization to be able to identify errors and failing concepts at each stage of the process before more time and resources are wasted.

Combine Qualitative and Quantitative

We’ve stressed the value of taking a hybrid research approach to findings before. But when it comes to prioritizing ideas, it can have a more significant impact. By conducting a quantitative phase, brands can prioritize ideas early on in the process. Adding a qualitative phase, they can refine the winning ideas before launching into full concept development.

For example, a large food brand, Bumble Bee Foods needed to quickly learn from consumers and modify concepts early on in the research and development process. Their innovation team also needed to generate a pipeline of only the most viable product concepts through an insight-driven process. Luckily, they understood the importance of being able to learn from consumers and modify concepts early on in the research and development process in order to prioritize ideas. They also knew a qualitative and quantitative hybrid research approach was likely the best way to drive the most successful innovations forward.

But they needed a common platform that could handle both qualitative and quantitative executions quickly. So using our agile research approach they were able to land on refined and prioritized concepts quickly, and early in their development process. To learn more about early-stage concept testing and how a multi-phase approach can work to prioritize ideas, read the full case study on Bumble Bee Foods.

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