Weeding out weak ideas quickly with idea screening

Unproductive ideas drain resources. Test early-stage ideas quickly and nurture the ones with real potential to weed out the weaklings and identify the winners.
13 October 2021
A lightbulb on a grass background
Nicki Morley
Dr Nicki
Morley

Head of Behavioural Science and Innovation Expertise, Insights Division, UK

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Generating business ideas is easy... but identifying the right idea is hard. Equally, discarding the poor ideas quickly and moving on confidently can also be a challenge. If you’re not careful, you can become hostage to an unproductive idea that has little real chance of success. Luckily, testing ideas just got a whole lot easier thanks to automated idea screening.

Speed brings agility to innovation

Automated market research platforms bring huge benefits and can help avoid some of innovation’s biggest pitfalls. For a start, speed brings the ability to be more nimble and iterative. No longer is the development timeline dictated by working back from the launch date and building in time for lengthy consumer testing. Instead, you can get the consumer response in as little as 24 hours – then quickly discard the least favourable ideas and build upon the ones with promise.

Too many ideas; too few meaningful ones

Agile automated idea screening opens the opportunity not just to screen ideas but to nurture the most fruitful ones. A meaningful new product must be based on a compelling idea, but ideas are ten a penny. It is finding and nurturing the right, meaningful idea that is the real challenge. A strong idea must be built from strong insight foundations and the consumer’s voice must be part of its development. It also doesn’t mean that we should ideate without direction, creating hundreds of ideas and throwing them all at the wall to see what sticks.

Bring consumer insight into the innovation process early

Just think about the typical innovation workshop. Everyone writes their idea on a Post-It. The facilitator sticks the Post-Its on the virtual wall, grouping similar ideas. Then everyone gets to vote on the ones they like most... We have a winner!

What is wrong with this process? The end-consumer is missing. Just because the innovation team thinks something is a good idea, does not mean that the consumer will. 

For proof that not every idea makes a great product, take the example of Google Glass. All the power of your smartphone made available through your glasses. Sounds like a great idea, right? Except the public instinctively took against them.

The importance of people’s intuitive response

Google Glass highlights an important pitfall when testing business ideas with consumers. First impressions are critical, and we need to understand them, and not just rely on direct questions. People’s intuitive response to an idea will often determine its fate because given enough time people can always rationalise why something might be a good idea. “Great for picnics” translates into “I might use it once in a blue moon.”

What we really need when screening ideas is to capture people’s quick, intuitive response as well as their more reflective assessment. If the two are positive and aligned, then the idea is probably a fruitful one, a strong contender for further development. Where there is a disconnect between the intuitive and reflective responses, this idea must be explored further. A good intuitive response with a less positive assessment, might also be a signal to explore further. A lacklustre intuitive response but a generally more positive reflective assessment, beware: check for potential issues like the picnic problem!

Find the fruitful ideas, weed out the weaklings

When it comes to successful innovation, ideas are important. But separating the weaklings from the fruitful ideas fast is the real challenge of innovation testing. And to find the fruitful ideas, you must build from strong foundations and bring the consumer into the innovation process early. Idea eValuate on Kantar Marketplace supports agile innovation with fast, automated screening of new business ideas that capture both people’s intuitive response and their more considered assessment, quickly and cost-efficiently.  Find out what consumer’s think of your ideas in just 24-48 hours with Kantar Marketplace.

Want more like this?

Read: Welcome to the era of agile market research

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