When individuals are formulating new ideas, they mostly tend to think out of the box in the brainstorming or divergent stage. However, when it comes to convergence, the individual usually ends up selecting the idea that is most familiar to them. This is called a ‘creative paradox’ or a ‘creadox’.
The How-Now-Wow grid is an idea selection tool that disintegrates the creadox by pushing people to weigh each idea on 2 parameters.
- This activity naturally follows the creative idea generation stages and helps participants select ideas to develop further.
Voting squares (yellow, blue, green)
Step By Step Procedures
- Draw a 2-by-2 grid as in the attached document. The X-axis denotes the originality of the idea and the Y-axis shows the ease of implementation.
- Label each square in the grid as follows:
- Now/Blue Ideas – Normal ideas, easy to implement. These are typically low-hanging fruit and solutions to fill existing gaps in processes. These normally result in incremental benefits.
- How/Yellow Ideas – Original ideas, impossible to implement. These are breakthrough ideas in terms of impact, but absolutely impossible to implement right now given current technology/budget constraints.
- Wow/Green Ideas – Original ideas, easy to implement. ‘Wow’ ideas are those with potential for orbit-shifting change and possible to implement within current reality.
- Write down the ideas that come out from the creative ideation stage on large grids of paper stuck around the room.
- Give each participant 3 sticky squares of each color – that is, 3 blue, 3 yellow, 3 green. 9 dots per person is ideal, but go ahead and reduce/increase that number based on the time at hand and number of ideas generated.
- Ask each participant to step forward and vote for 3 best ideas in each category. They need to do this by sticking a colored square in front of each idea they choose.
- In the end, count the number of squares under each idea to categorize it. The highest number of squares of a certain color categorizes the idea under that color.
- In case of a tie:
- If blue dots = green dots, the idea is blue
- If yellow dots = green dots, the idea is green
6. You now have a collection of Now/Green ideas to work on further. Make sure you also collect the low-hanging blue ideas for immediate implementation and the yellow ideas to keep an eye on for the future.
Note to Facilitator
Check your yellow dots in advance to ensure that they can be seen from a distance. If not, go ahead and replace them with another color.
Running the Activity Online
- Choose an online whiteboard tool that allows the use of a large, zoomable canvas.
- Set up each topic at a different area of the board, spread them out just like you would do it on the walls of a room.
- Invite participants to zoom in and visit each section and add their ideas as sticky notes once you reach that section of the exercise.
- If you’re not using an online whiteboard, we’d recommend using a collaboration tool such as Google Docs to collect the information for each step under a separate heading. Invite everyone into the document but be very clear in regards to editing rights.
- Use voting features during the square voting process. You can also add comments inside Google Docs or ask participants to add a thumbs-up emoji to an idea in Slack to collect votes when using those tools.