Idea Screening vs. Idea Scoring

Ideation, idea screening and idea scoring are the first few steps that have to take flight, before a project goes up for approval and execution. No doubt, the course that your project takes is key in determining business success, but generating, screening and scoring serve as a foundation for this to take effect. Let’s take a look at two common methods used in the project selection process- idea screening and idea scoring.

Idea screening

Idea screening involves filtering down the various ideas that have been pooled into a small set. The screening can be done after evaluating the anticipated return on investment on the project, depending on the budget, market factors and so on. It goes without saying that the idea screening requires senior management and subject matter experts to sit down and carry out brainstorming sessions to evaluate the ideas. The idea behind idea screening is to eliminate poor ideas that either do not add much value to short or long-term corporate objectives or seem unfeasible. In some cases, decision makers in a company may have to drop an idea even though it shows great potential or scope for success and growth, due to inadequate resources or outcomes that are difficult to achieve.

Idea scoring

Idea scoring offers a more measurable means to evaluate prospective ideas. Idea scoring can be an effective means of determining what project is a good fit for your business. It is similar to how venture capitalists decide what company is most worthy of investment. There are various scoring models that you can use for the project selection process. It could be scoring algorithms to checklists. There are also numerous idea scoring tools in the market that can be used in idea scoring. These tools help rate each idea depending on the positives and pain points. It can then be scored in the context of business approach and strategy, to see if it makes for a good investment. One of the main advantages of idea scoring over tradition screening methods is that it takes a quantitative approach; breaking it down to numbers is a pragmatic way to approach the decision-making process for projects, making it a sound investment valuation tool to rely on. What’s more is that idea scoring can be applied even when there are a large number of ideas in question, which have to filtered during the project selection process.

3 Comments

  1. Graham Horton 2016/03/05 at 22:16 - Reply

    As pointed out in the article, screening and scoring are two very different things. In our experience, managers tend to prefer scoring to screening, because screening requires a much higher commitment to your criteria: if an idea fails a criterion then it is out. On the other hand, scoring allows them to be more indecisive. It is much more comfortable to say “this idea scores 1 out of 5 with respect to criterion X” than it is so say “I reject this idea on the basis of criterion X”.

    The result is that the scoring becomes bloated, which makes it more complicated and less accurate. The more criteria you include in a scoring table, the less distinct (and less reliable) the answers become.

  2. Bernhard Eigen 2016/03/10 at 08:03 - Reply

    Hi Esa,
    I appreciate your definitions of screening and scoring. But isn’t the real power in the combination of both? First you need to screen to understand the different aspects of an idea. This requires some pre-work. Once you have a sound understanding of the idea, you can score it with metrics to filter for priorities.
    Regards from an Innovation Manager

  3. Bernhard Eigen 2016/03/10 at 08:04 - Reply

    Hi Esa,

    I appreciate your definitions of screening and scoring. But isn’t the real power in the combination of both? First you need to screen to understand the different aspects of an idea. This requires some pre-work. Once you have a sound understanding of the idea, you can score it with metrics to filter for priorities.

    Regards from an Innovation Manager

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