Filtration is one of the most important steps in all three innovation approaches. With filtration you are going to take the ideas that were collected and sort them according to whether the idea represents a potential innovation or not. Remember an innovation is an advance, so the litmus test is whether or not the idea has the potential to advance something in the organization. If you are really lucky than perhaps you will come across an idea that is potentially a Competitive Innovation. To make filtration easier it might be useful to have as a part of the uniform idea structure a section which calls for how the idea will advance the organization. If the answer is clear and acceptable than it passes the litmus test for a potential innovation.
The second part of the filtration process would be to rank the ideas that passed the first part of the test. As much as I disagreed with Enron’s forced ranking system from a Human Resources standpoint, I absolutely love it when it comes to ranking ideas according to potential value added. If any of the ideas are potentially Competitive Innovations they are classed as Competitive Ideas. Strong Ideas represent the top 20% of the ideas collected that passed the first part of the test and which are not Competitive Ideas. A rating of Pass means that the idea is passed over and represents the low 80% of the ideas that passed the first part of the test.
Filtration Step 1 – Remove ideas that do not advance the organization.
Filtration Step 2 – Rate remaining ideas Competitive Ideas, Strong Ideas, Pass
Those ideas that are Competitive or Strong will proceed to Clarification and Definition.
This is just my way of filtering ideas for innovation. There are many ways to sort through ideas and each organization will have to use the one that best fits them. They may wish to filter ideas even further, especially if the number of suggestions means that 20% still poses a prohibitely high number. Many ideas will also tend to strongly resemble one another so these can often skew the results. When many ideas overlap then it may be useful to create a general umbrella idea with all resembling ideas falling under it, rather than count each one individually.
In the next section we are going to look at how to clarify and define the ideas