Tag Archives: hiebing

Evaluating Ideas vs. Generating Ideas

When you read a case study or participate in a brainstorm, what do you do when you hear about an idea? Do you evaluate and judge the idea or do you generate new ideas based on the original idea?

In an all-agency meeting yesterday, the president of our agency, Dave Florin, posited that too often we find ourselves evaluating ideas rather than generating better and more improved ideas. Obviously we’re still generating new ideas — else our clients wouldn’t be our clients anymore — but he suggested that we could be creating even more ideas. It gave me pause, but when I thought about it, that is what happens.

There are countless articles that I’ve read that I’ve judged as really smart ideas or really lousy ideas. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it seems that more often than not I’m reading about or listening to ideas that I evaluate and judge at face value and then move on to the next idea. Instead, I need to spend more time generating a new and improved idea based on the original idea.

Clients hire us to come up with bright and inventive ideas. As such, we need to make sure that we don’t just stop at evaluating ideas, but figuring out what can make existing ideas better. I hypothesize that with almost every article we read and every brainstorm we participate in that we can glean at least one takeaway to improve upon the original idea or use that takeaway to seed a completely new idea.

At the end of the agency meeting we were challenged to ask ourselves the same question every day: “Did I positively impact the creation of a marketable idea today?” As long as we can answer “Yes!” to that question every day, we know that we’re on track to producing great work.

What about you? Do you find yourself evaluating ideas more often than generating ideas? Do you think it’s possible to turn every single idea into a better idea?