How to Prioritize Ideas from UX Brainstorming Sessions

The first one is the opening phase where blue skies thinking is encouraged and a lot of ideas are generated. The middle phase is where those ideas are explored in more depth and then the closing phase. What we’re going to be talking about today is where those ideas are ranked and evaluated against one another in order to create an action plan and move forward in the opening phase. A lot of ideas are generated, but we can’t stop there. We need some kind of plan to move forward and we have to agree on what that plan is going to be. So I’m going to talk about two techniques today that can help you do that. The first one is called the one hundred dollar test, but any form of currency will do. This is where you take a set of ideas generated through brainstorming and rank them against one another by assigning some type of monetary value to those ideas. You can use this for internal initiatives, just like you can use it with a group of end users in a workshop. So say you had done this with a group of end users and through a brainstorming phase, you had generated a lot of ideas for, say, hypothetically adding features to a search function.

Maybe you came up with filtering search results by format type.

Suggesting some type of related search results and maybe some kind of autofill function that would fill in the search query as users were typing, you would put these ideas in a column and have a group go through, take a collective one hundred dollars as the group and decide how to split that among the ideas. So they would go through and assigned some type of monetary value to each of these ideas. And as they were doing that, you would log the discussion that talked about why these ideas were worth more than others. So what you end up with here is a great set of ideas that the group has agreed upon. And now you can move forward with the priorities results. Another technique you can use to create consensus and move forward with ideas is called the New Useful Feasible Test, or the NUW test for short. So this is a technique where you have a group, individually or collectively rank ideas in terms of novelty, usefulness and feasibility. So we go through and we ask ourselves, is the idea new? Is it something that we’ve tried before? And then rank that answer on a scale of one to seven. So maybe Autofill is something we haven’t tried before. Then we ask, is the idea useful? Does it actually solve the problem at hand? And we rank that as well. And finally refine the idea by asking, is it actually feasible? Is it something we can technically actually implement? Maybe not.

And do this for each idea.

What you end up with is the ability to collectively tally these numbers and therefore rank the ideas. So if we were making these, we would score this up into a total score. And again, I’d end up with some kind of ranked prioritization of the ideas that have been generated. So these are two techniques that you can use to create consensus among a group that has generated a wide set of ideas and therefore create some type of action plan to move forward.

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