How To Evaluate Your Ideas Using A Value Hierarchy

How To Evaluate Your Ideas Using A Value Hierarchy

How To Evaluate Your Ideas Using A Value Hierarchy

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In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How do you evaluate which of your creative ideas or projects to pursue?
  • The secret to making good creative decisions
  • The Value Hierarchy
  • Personal Values
  • Organizational Values

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Inspirational Quotes


How do you evaluate which of your creative ideas or projects to pursue? How do you decide which ideas to discard and which to implement?

The secret to making good creative decisions lies in a quote by Roy Disney who said, ‘when your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”

I was recently speaking in Rome, Italy to a group of senior executives from the telecoms and automobile industries. Often the biggest challenge when you work with group of creative people on a project is not so much generating ideas but rather evaluating them. These executives were awash with good ideas for designing and marketing their products and services but they needed a way to select the ideas that they would go forward with.

One simple idea evaluation technique is called ‘The Value Hierarchy’. It essentially matches your decisions with your personal or organizational values. It starts with knowing what your personal and company values are, and also their order of importance. For example if your businesses highest value is ‘trust’ then you are unlikely to go forward with an idea or project which would go against that. An example of this is that some budget airlines almost seem to go out of their way to trip their customers up into paying high baggage fees. It’s unlikely that these airlines have ‘trust’ at the top of their corporate values.

However where it becomes really challenging is when you or your team have a good idea which agrees with one of your values but conflicts with another. For example let’s imagine two of your values are ‘innovation’ and ‘reliability’ and you are considering launching a new innovative product quickly into the market but it still has a few small bugs. If you wait your competitors could get their product out first and they would be seen as the innovators. However if you launch too early your brand could take a knock because there might be errors on some of the products your customers receive.

As well as knowing your personal or company values you also need to know their hierarchy or order. In the example I just mentioned if ‘innovation’ ranked higher than ‘reliability’ on their corporate values then it’s likely they would go ahead with the product launch. A company like that might have a motto like ‘move fast and break things’. Innovation ranks higher than reliability for them.

When you know your values, making creative decisions becomes much simpler. If you own or work at a company then make sure you understand at a deep level the values and hierarchy of your organization. Meanwhile it’s worth taking a personality assessment like Strength Finders or Myers Briggs to understand your own personal values and how they rank in comparison to each other. That way whenever you have to decide between a number of good ideas you just refer to your value hierarchy and ask yourself “which of these ideas accords most closely with our values’.

Thanks for watching.


creativity blueprint

creativity blueprint

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