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How to Evaluate Design Ideas


Design and innovation play an essential role in today’s business success through fueling an organization’s future with creative ideas that in turn, will help maintain superiority in market competition. Investing in business ventures and start-up ideas are other reason for companies to focus on creative ideas and analyze their potential success in the market.

Designers, design managers and educators also need an evaluation process when selecting creative ideas or different design layouts for creative projects. In order to achieve the best output of the selection process, an evaluation methodology should be considered to make sure that the selected creative or design idea is the best choice to achieve the company’s target.

Unlike evaluative business plans or marketing research which deal with statistics, numbers and/or charts, reviewing creative ideas is more complicated as it focuses on the potential success of initial starting ideas. The evaluation methods helps in reviewing a large number of ideas in order to reach the one that is most likely to succeed in the market.

The evaluation method ensures putting the right team in the selection process and understands the problems potentially inherent in a creative idea and seeks to correct them during the implementation process.

Design Evaluation Methods

Mainly, there are three methods that help in evaluating design ideas; pass-fail evaluation, evaluation matrix and SWOT analysis. These methods can be implemented individually or in a sequence-based number of steps on the number of creative ideas and the type of the evaluation required.

Pass-fail evaluation method

This is the first method and can be applied for evaluating large number of ideas based in a simple acceptance or rejection question. Before going into in-depth evaluation methods, this basic step allows eliminating the ideas that do not fit with the basic project requirements such as the budget and target audiences. This method allows reviewing large number of ideas in a short time due to its simple decision-making process based on prime criteria. The criteria can include questions such as:

  • Does the idea comply with company strategy? (Yes/No)
  • Does it talk the company target audience? (Yes/No)
  • Does the idea budget acceptable? (Yes/No)

Although there can be a large number of ideas reviewed in this method, accurate evaluations should be taken into consideration as a priority in order to avoid eliminating good ideas with potential success possibility.

Evaluation Matrix

The ideas that pass through the first method go through the evaluation matrix method. In some cases, the submitted ideas for acceptance are just a few ideas, then when submitted to the evaluation process, the reviewers can skip the first methods and transition directly to this step.

evaluation matrix
Example of the evolution matrix score.

In this method, the reviewers compare the ideas with a specific matrix or set of criteria. The criteria can includes the following:

  • The idea contribution in company’s overall strategic outcome
  • The idea’s potential impact
  • Expected stakeholders
  • Expected budget to apply the idea
  • Timelines to implement the idea

A specified score is given to each criterion. For example the idea contribution in company’s strategic outcome can include the following score set:

  • Score 0: No expected contribution in the strategic outcome
  • Score 1: Direct contribution in one strategic outcomes
  • Score 2: Direct contribution in two strategic outcomes
  • Score 3: Direct contribution in three strategic outcomes
  • Score 4: Direct contribution in four or more strategic outcomes
  • Score 5: Multiple contribution in the organization’s wide strategic outcomes

The comparison factors reflect the project requirement using a score rate. This score measures the potential success of the idea based on a number of factors. After the evaluation process is accomplished, a total score number is assigned to each idea. Each evaluator provides feedback about the idea, which can also be used to improve it.

SWOT analysis

The SWOT analysis refers to the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the idea as projected into the marketplace. This type of evaluation seeks to extend the reviewer vision to evaluate the idea based on the four factors, which predicts the potential success of the idea in the market based on the market related factors.

SWOT evaluation
The SWOT evaluation method four factors.

This analysis stage helps evaluating the idea based on the four SWOT factors such as questions to analyze idea’s strengths:

  • What are the idea’s advantages?
  • What can the idea be successful in?
  • What are the current existing idea resources?
  • How others may see the strength of the idea?

Questions to analyze the idea’s weaknesses:

  • How can the idea can be improved?
  • What does the idea lack in term of experience, team and resources?
  • What can prevent the idea from success?
  • How do others see the idea in terms of weaknesses?

Questions to analyze the idea’s opportunities:

  • What opportunities does the idea have in the market?
  • How the company can help the idea to succeed?

Questions to analyze the idea’s threats:

  • What are the obstacles that face the idea?
  • Do the idea weaknesses represent any thread to its success?
  • What are the financial problem that may face the idea?

Approval and Implementation

Once the ideas go through the above three methods, it becomes ready to be taken to the next stage and implemented in the development process. This stage starts with creating the wireframe for the product or the design in order to have visual shape for it. Once the wireframe is reviewed and approved by different reviewers, the idea can be put into a full production development process.

The above evaluation methods help review and select the design ideas that are most suitable for market competency in order to achieve the company goals. These evaluation methods can be used all together or in sequence starting from the first method until the third one or individually based on the company’s objectives and/or requirements.

Related articles:

Best Practices for Idea Evaluation

Best Practices for Idea Evaluation

A competitive advantage comes with focusing on projects that your business can execute on and deliver the most impact with. In this guide, we show you how to develop and apply idea evaluation best practices to move the best ideas forward and keep people in the loop.

You’ve launched your Kindling program and are now getting amazing Ideas from previously untapped sources throughout the organization—maybe you’ve even begun to use Kindling as a better way to engage strategic customers and partners. Congratulations! Now you’re faced with a new challenge and are asking yourself, How can I manage all of these Ideas? You might even be thinking:

  • The volume of Ideas is overwhelming;
  • What evaluation criteria should I use?
  • How can I evaluate duplicate or under-developed Ideas? and
  • How will I say “no” to some Ideas?

You promoted change, you’ve expressed your desire to listen to your teams to find new areas of improvement, but now you actually have to do something with all these Ideas. Your community is waiting for feedback, waiting for you to make decisions, and, most importantly, waiting for recognition. But where do you begin? How do you make some sense from the insights you’ve received, sort through all the feedback, and begin evaluating?

The good news is you’re not alone. Many organizations struggle with this same challenge, which is why we’ve developed this guide compiling approaches our customers have taken to help their teams tackle the challenge of managing all the Ideas in their innovation programs. Your goal should be to thoughtfully evaluate all Ideas while spending as little time and resources necessary in identifying the Ideas with the best potential. It is then those Ideas, those filled with the most potential to solve the problem at hand, that justify increased attention.

Determining Evaluation Criteria

Consider the evaluation criteria before you begin evaluating Ideas to determine which Ideas show the most promise and which Ideas can be easily put to the side. By investing upfront in identifying these criteria, the evaluation process will be much simpler and more efficient. Think of the Ideas in your Category or Campaign as your innovation pipeline and evaluation criteria as the funnel you put them through to filter.

You may also use different evaluation criteria at different points in an Idea’s life cycle. For instance, your first round of Idea evaluation may rely solely on popularity while your second or third may require you to take a closer look at the timeline or budget for implementation.

Typical questions evaluation criteria might address include:

  • Does the innovation community support this Idea?
  • Did it receive a lot of interest through active conversation, voting, or volunteering?
  • Is this Idea in line with our strategic goals for this year?
  • Is it in line with the goals of this Category or Campaign?
  • Do we have the budget to implement it?
  • Do we have the necessary tools or team to implement it?
  • Can it be implemented within the desired timeframe?
  • Is the executive committee on board with moving forward with it?
Your evaluation criteria will help you determine which Ideas are worth your investment of time and resources, and which are not a good fit and can thus be declined.

There are two aspects to the strategy for evaluating Ideas: your evaluation workflow and your evaluation timelineEvaluation workflow encompasses the stages your Idea will pass through on the way to a decision being made. This evaluation workflow maps to the evaluation criteria you’ll consider at each stage in the evaluation process. Your evaluation timeline is the pace at which you’ll move Ideas from one stage to the next. Ideally, you’ve determined both your workflow and timeline prior to your Campaign launch, but if you haven’t, the following two exercises will help you determine a process most appropriate for your organization.

Exercise: Define Your Evaluation Workflow

To determine the appropriate workflow stages or states, start by pinpointing what needs to happen to make the Idea a good fit—ask yourself, What are my must-haves? What characteristics must this Idea have in order to move forward to the next stage? And what are my deal-breakers? Which attributes make this Idea a no-go? Go through the exercise of writing these down! These characteristics are your evaluation criteria and will help you define your Idea workflow for Kindling.

For example, if all Ideas must pass through the legal review team, Legal Compliance is an evaluation criterion and should be a state in your workflow. If all Ideas must cost less than $10,000, cost should also part of your evaluation criteria with the potential to become a workflow state such as Cost Analysis.

Examples of workflow states used by Kindling customers:

  • Cost Analysis / Budget Analysis: An analysis of implementation cost is necessary to determine whether you can more forward with this Idea.
  • Legal Compliance: An analysis by the legal team is necessary to determine whether you can more forward with this Idea.
  • Executive Review / Committee Review: Ideas that you would like to move forward with that require executive approval or approval by a review committee.
  • Innovation Team Review / Under Evaluation / Expert Assessment: This Idea shows potential and is currently being evaluated or assessed to determine whether it can move forward.
  • More Information Required / Needs Elaboration: Ideas that require more information before they can be evaluated.
  • Duplicate: Another participant has already suggested a similar Idea.
  • Mid- to Long-term / Some Day / Backlog / Parked: Ideas that should be reviewed at a later date but are currently paused.
  • Declined / Not Progressed: Ideas you want to decline that don’t make sense for your organization at this time.
  • Previously Attempted: Declined because it was previously attempted by your organization but was not successful.
  • Approved: Ideas that you plan to move forward with.
  • Prototyping: Approved Ideas that you are attempting to implement as test cases.
  • Completed: Ideas that have made it through the implementation phase.

Exercise: Map out Your Evaluation Timeline

Your evaluation timeline depends on a number of factors including the type of challenge you’re running (Category or Campaign), whether a limited number of Ideas can be approved or “win” the challenge, and whether your Moderators are empowered decision-makers. First identify whether you’ll be using a Category or Campaign to collect Ideas. For Categories, Idea submission can be ongoing with no set deadline, while in Campaigns, the timeline is fixed with Campaign start and end dates. Idea evaluation can happen at specific points, such as a week after a Campaign ends or at a quarterly committee review meeting.

Next, consider whether there are a limited amount of Ideas that can be approved. If there can be only one or two winning Ideas, then you’ll need to wait until the end of the Campaign or until a designated time before closing a Category, when all Ideas have been submitted, to make your final decision. Finally, think about who will ultimately make the decision about Ideas submitted. If Ideas must be approved by a review committee (budget, legal compliance, executive), then your evaluation timing will need to take into account the frequency and timing of committee meetings. However, if your Moderators have full decision-making power and budget approval, they may have more flexibility with timing than a committee that meets at specific intervals.

Define your criteria and strategy for evaluation prior to Campaign launch and be sure to share them with all Moderators.
Share your evaluation criteria with innovators, too, in a Kindling Post about your Campaign. This will provide added context to your Category or Campaign and help to make sure that you get the most relevant Ideas in response.

Managing the Volume of Ideas

It’s important to remember that the purpose of evaluating Ideas is not to simply reduce the volume, but to try and identify, as soon as possible, and with minimal resources or distractions, which Ideas warrant further consideration.

An effective process that we have seen from many of our customers is to evaluate your Ideas in rounds or stages. Begin with an easy to apply filter that will help you determine which Ideas to respond to first. For example, you might use built-in metrics like votes, views, comments, or time of last activity to determine which Ideas are in most need of response, which ones are potential winners, and which can easily be taken out of the mix. Ideas that have broad support from your participants through votes or volunteering show promise for implementation and are good candidates to move to more comprehensive stages of evaluation, while Ideas that linger and draw minimal engagement may be prime for declining or deferring for future consideration. Using Kindling’s Moderate features, you can select and make decisions on multiple ideas at once. Then, after you’ve reduced the volume of Ideas, you can spend more time on an in-depth evaluation for those remaining Ideas.

Another approach to handling the volume of Ideas is by scheduled Moderator check-ins. These meetings can be a great way to spread the responsibility of managing a high volume of Ideas. Moderators can collaborate with each other, evaluate Ideas as a team, and discuss any challenges or questions they have about evaluation criteria. Designating a specific time for your Moderators to evaluate Ideas increases the likelihood that it will be accomplished and, by working together, your Moderators can move through Ideas more quickly and ensure a consensus about which Ideas make it to the next stage.

A third approach is to engage other Kindling participants in your decision making, drawing on the wisdom of the crowds to help reduce the volume of Ideas. With Kindling Evaluations, you can crowdsource the validation process allowing you to rapidly identify the best Ideas. Imagine you’re a Moderator in the Private Wealth division of your Finance organization, and you have 8 popular candidate Ideas to consider. So you quickly build an Evaluation and send it to your best 10 engineers to see which Ideas could be built the fastest. Then you go to lunch, and when you come back, 6 of them have replied and now you know the 3 easiest Ideas to build. So you put the other 5 Ideas aside and ask your top 4 business managers which of the 3 remaining Ideas will have the biggest impact for your clients. And before you go into a late afternoon meeting, you have your answer. Relying on other Kindling participants for Idea evaluation means moving more quickly through the evaluation process and ending up with better, more informed decisions.

Avoiding Under-developed Ideas

The best way to pre-empt incomplete or under-developed Ideas is to be as specific as possible about what you’re looking for when starting a Category or launching a Campaign. Establish a strong context and use the Category or Campaign description along with a Kindling Post to state what your goals are and what factors you’ll need to evaluate Ideas. By being transparent about your evaluation criteria, you can help ensure that participants propose Ideas relevant to the challenge and include all of the information you’re looking for.

If you’ve already launched your Campaign and you’re finding that you keep coming up against under-developed Ideas, you can share a Post reminding participants of the evaluation criteria and expectations for Idea submission and highlight a well-developed Idea that better illustrates what information you’re looking for.

View Ideas with vague details as an opportunity to reach out to the submitter. Suggest a revision to the Idea where you outline the missing information, or use a Kindling Assessment for a structured set of questions you’d like the author to address. To engage the community, add a comment to the Idea eliciting contributions from other participants. With additional feedback from your participants, each with their unique experience and perspective, Ideas can evolve into more fully formed concepts.

Always write a Post describing a new Campaign. Use this as an opportunity to catch people’s attention enough to get them to participate, and provide enough context so that people’s submissions best meet the goal of the Campaign.

Managing Duplicate Ideas

Kindling helps cut down on duplicate Ideas by scanning for similar content and informing the user during the submission process. Even so, duplicate Ideas will occasionally make it into your program. An easy way for Moderators to address redundant discussions is to create a workflow state named Duplicate and move the most recently entered or least fully formed Idea into that state. Then, add a comment to the Idea marked as a duplicate that you will be continuing the conversation in the Idea you are keeping open, and include a link to that Idea. You might also contact the owner of the Idea that will persist asking them to work with the duplicate Idea owner to include them as a contributor and to capture their unique aspects of the concept.

Saying “No”

People are realistic and understand that not all Ideas can be approved. We hear regularly that people want their Ideas considered—they want to be listened to—but understand the constraints of the organization.

Saying “no” is a necessary and important part of the Idea evaluation process. Declining an idea is as much a decision as approving it. Close the loop on the conversation and steer clear of that void where submitters never learn if their Ideas were even considered.

An Idea can be declined for any number of reasons: it’s not feasible, for example, or it doesn’t align well with established goals, or it has already been tried without success before. Since not all Ideas will be implemented, it’s important to design a strategy for declining Ideas that cannot move forward. An Idea that is deemed to be impractical but stays in its open state indefinitely appears no different to a participant than an Idea that has never been looked at. Participants need feedback, especially when their Ideas won’t be implemented.

To respond “no,” you may choose to use the built-in Declined state, or to create custom states that provide additional detail about why an Idea is being declined. Some examples are:

  • Exceeded Budget Limit;
  • Turned Down by the Executive Committee;
  • Rejected by Client; and
  • Failed End-user Testing.

Each decline action should always be accompanied by an explanatory message, even if it just shows that the Idea was considered. Some examples are:

  • “This does not meet the budgetary limits for this Campaign but we’re open to reconsidering if you have ideas for cost reduction.”
  • “This Idea isn’t projected to meet the minimum cost-saving requirements.”
  • “We can’t purchase the software you’ve recommended at this time.”
  • “This technique was attempted several years ago, but with little result.”

Being transparent about your reasoning helps mitigate disappointment about an Idea being declined. More than having every Idea approved, most users are concerned that their Ideas are heard and given due consideration. So, don’t be afraid to say “no,” just do it transparently and thoughtfully.

Work with your Moderators to design a strategy for saying “no.” This will empower them to take action more quickly and consistently while providing ways to acknowledge the effort put in by the Idea author.


Every business is faced with constraints and most organizations don’t have the luxury of allocating valuable resources to projects that don’t stand a strong likelihood for success. A competitive advantage comes with focusing on projects that your business can execute on and deliver the most impact with. Through a thoughtful evaluation process, teams can eliminate wasted expenditure on Ideas that aren’t a great fit and focus on those Ideas that best meet the issues at hand. Everyone is busy, including your Moderators, so create a process that maximizes people’s time while still providing feedback to everyone who took the time to contribute an Idea to your program.


What is Going On With App Makers and the Apple Store?


Note: this article was updated on 29.09.17. We removed some official press statements from app makers as they did not help users at all.

As of June 2017, Apple announced new rules designed to reduce the number of spam and clone apps on their App Store. Section 4.2.6 of their latest guideline clearly states that: “Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.”

apple 4.2.6 guideline

Apple’s new design guideline


Unfortunately, most app makers seem to be directly affected by this new rule. While some companies have been very straightforward about their issues, others have been less transparent and there is currently a lot of misinformation online. This is making things very hard for users, and particularly resellers, who submit high volumes of applications to the App Store.

In order to help users understand what is going on, we will gather up to date information on this page. We used to have info about all app makers, but it was not helpful. So below is the news from the only App Makers who have been clear about their way of dealing with the 4.2.6 guideline. 


On 20th of September 2017, GoodBarber explained the whole situation in detail in this excellent blog post. Here are some of the main points

  • Existing GoodBarber users with iOS apps can still push updates.
  • They have a new review process and pricing at 96$ per month for iOS. It does not guarantee iOS publication, but your fee is refunded if need be.
  • Resellers will be able to submit iOS apps with a developer enterprise account. There is also an extra review fee for the App Store.


On the 30th of August, BiznessApps confirmed that users can still submit their apps to the App Store. However, they will have to pay an additional $499 fee per iOS app. This is for the costs of an internal review and eventual changes to the app. In the same email, the CEO stated that:

  • the fee is refundable if the app is rejected
  • BiznessApps is still taking on resellers
  • they are in direct contact with Apple.


What about the other app makers?

Unfortunately, we cannot comment on any other platforms at the moment. We tried to keep an updated list of unaffected solutions, but it seems to be changing daily. Besides, we cannot test every single solution ourselves. If you have any info, feel free to share it in the comments below.

Is Google’s Play Store affected?

Not at all. As is often the case, it would seem that Apple and Google have very different ways of doing things. The latter is equally affected by “bad apps” but they are sweeping them under the rug rather than destroying an entire side industry.

In contrast to Apple, Google is very strong on search and is able to just remove low-quality apps from their search algorithms. This seems like a much fairer approach to us, one that works quite well for the World Wide Web.

So what happens next?

Unfortunately at this stage the answer is the same for everyone: we don’t know. As you can imagine, Apple’s decision could have a disastrous effect on thousands of small businesses who use drag and drop builders for their apps. There isn’t much to do except wait and see.

However, here are some takeaway points:

  • If you have an iOS app in your pipeline with an unaffected app maker, you should maybe think about rushing the submission. There is no guarantee that your app maker will be able to keep submitting to the App Store forever.
  • Apple has not banned “template apps” retrospectively. This means that your previous iOS apps made with app makers are ok and you should be able to update them.
  • A lot of app makers are focusing their efforts on Progressive Web Apps. This is a way of avoiding these kinds of problems in the future.

Once again, do let us know about information you have regarding this situation as many users are waiting to know what to do next.

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