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Choosing an evaluation method

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In this chapter we have considered a variety of techniques for evaluating ideas. These range from the very simple to the quite complex. When choosing an appropriate method, one should examine the advantages and disadvantages of each in relationship to the problem which is being studied so that an appropriate choice can be made. Thus while, for example, reverse brainstorming may seem an appealing method it may not be suitable for all kinds of problems. Indeed, it may be that more than one method may need to be applied. This is particularly the case where an evaluation by reverse brainstorming produces a number of attractive options, but where it is difficult to differentiate between their various appeals and to put them into some kind of rank order. Under such circumstances a rating procedure may be required to enable the various options to be ranked.

In other circumstances, of course, it may be possible to select from a range of options without having recourse to simple or elaborate evaluation models such as those we have outlined above. If this is the case, then one should not feel that it is a requirement that an evaluation model should be used.


  • 1 Describe two different techniques which can be used to assist in the evaluation of ideas.
  • 2 ‘Ideation techniques only generate insights into a problem and not solutions to a problem.’ To what extent would you agree or disagree with this statement? How does this influence how we might set about the process of evaluating the output of an ideation process?
  • 3 A manager has a number of proposals for improving communications in the office. How might he or she set about evaluating the different proposals?
  • 4 When might one use reverse brainstorming? Describe the process.
  • 5 What are the advantages of using reverse brainstorming compared with other methods of evaluation? What are its limitations? Illustrate its application to a situation of your own choice.
  • 6 What is the purpose of reverse brainstorming? Illustrate its use thr ough an example of your own choice.
  • 7 A canning company is considering vertical integration as a means of obviating supply- and distribution-chain problems that have become apparent in the past few months. Discuss how force-field analysis might be used to good effect in helping to analyse such a situation.


Hamilton, H.R. (1974) ‘Screening business development opportunities’, Business Horizons, August, 13-34.

Lindblom, C.E. (1959) ‘The science of “muddling through’”, Public Administration Review, 19(2), 79-88.

Van Gundy, A.B. (2007) Getting to Innovation: How Asking the Right Questions Generates the Great Ideas Your Company Needs, American Management Association.

Whiting, C.S. (1958) Creative Thinking, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Further reading

Faure, C. (2004) ‘Beyond brainstorming: effects of different group procedures on selection of ideas and satisfaction with the process’, The Journal of Creative Behavior, 38, 13-34.

Licuanan, B.F., Dailey, L.R. and Mumford, M.D. (2007) ‘Idea evaluation: error in evaluating highly original ideas’, The Journal of Creative Behavior, 41(1), 1-27.

Puccio, G.J. and Cabra, J.F. (2012) ‘Idea generation and idea evaluation: cognitive skills and deliberate practices’, in M.D. Mumford (ed.), Handbook of Organizational Creativity, San Diego, CA: Elsevier, 189-215.

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