Evaluation of ideas

Original author: Eileen Webb
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Brainstorming is fun! In the early days of a new project, hundreds of ideas appear, and these ideas spark a discussion in which new ideas are born. Probably, in this part of the site we will have a live chat, and here - a video tour, and we will add a vote to the comments!

It’s quite difficult to shorten the list of potential features. If ideas have appeared recently (which usually happens in my projects - a brainstorming is carried out before we engage third-party consultants), people are often strongly attached to the idea that they love and which they do not want to refuse.

I found that it’s best for me to have a framework on which to cut back on ideas reduction sessions. The established framework means that no one will try to convince me of the need for his idea; all ideas are evaluated in a relatively unemotional order, so we can choose which decisions are worth leaving.


My framework was originally based on a Venn diagram with two circles: “What the business needs” and “What the user wants.” Finding features and content that are placed at the intersection of two circles is the foundation of the basic model and many other great strategic approaches.

This is the very level of assessment that allows you to discard ideas such as the “photo gallery of a company’s golf tournament” (because no user has a task that would be performed by viewing photos of your team in strange hats and studded shoes).


I began to expand my Venn diagram. The third circle is called “What is appropriate for the site,” and includes issues such as brand goal, technology, and costs. A few years ago we had a client who wanted a live chat on their site to resolve acute psychological issues - there were qualified psychologists among their staff, the chat fit their mission perfectly, and it satisfied the needs of their users. But (at that time) the technologies were not ready for this: third-party solutions did not include the necessary anonymous treatment and reporting capabilities, and there were not enough funds to create such functionality from scratch.

Another client wanted to make forums on his website, simulating the communication of people at the dinner table during monthly gatherings. This circle helped us hold a discussion on whether this is appropriate for the site - and since most of these events involve a physical presence, we decided that the forums on the site did not meet this goal.


My fourth circle is a love message to all content strategists, and it is called "What is beneficial for the organization." A weekly podcast plan that lasts only a month, lovingly compiled profiles of only two of the 28 employees, an event calendar in which the last event was held in 2013 - we all saw how such plans collapse. This circle allows me to advance the issues of time and energy, while not being too pushy.

This circle also provides an opportunity to discuss current needs, such as photographs, the use of internal or external development resources, and what happens if the person responsible for this complex taxonomy goes on maternity leave?

I found that combining the discussion of functions with these circles helped me to conduct much more effective negotiations with clients, and also gave clients a framework for further discussion of the value of functions when I'm not around. At the same time, I realize that these four markers are based on the type of work that I perform, as well as on the format of my projects.

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