Have you ever finished an ideation session, not knowing what to do next? Now you have produced plenty of ideas but don’t know how to select the right ones. During ideation, the team can produce hundreds of ideas, but not all of them can be implemented. The question remains, how to find the best ones? There are several methods you can use to help you with this process.

In this article, you will learn different ways to help you narrow down the list and choose brilliant ideas from an ideation session. For more insights from experienced entrepreneurs, sign up to our EWOR Platform and gain access to over 17 courses and a plethora of resources.

What Is Idea Selection?

Idea selection is a process that helps you find the most effective ways to solve your problem at the end of the ideation stage in design thinking. Because even a small team can produce hundreds of ideas, it is essential to learn how to manage them.

Plus, everyone faces decision-making problems from time to time. With idea selection, it is no different. Having so many options in front of you can be frustrating. Moreover, pressure from colleagues is there, as you want to find the best option. So, how to start selecting the ideas?

Many companies have their own ways of finding what works for them. No process is the same. But having a plan in mind is crucial to take your idea from just a thought to a new innovative feature of your company.

Criteria Ranking

One of the ways to decide which option to choose is by using criteria ranking. This method helps to establish the best options within a certain category. To select the best ideas, it is essential to determine what criteria are relevant to the solution of the problem. Once you have the criteria, you can judge based on them. The use of ranking can help identify the most practical ideas out of a critical mass. Moreover, it is vital to ask the right questions during the process. 

Choose a group with a variety of backgrounds to get the best results out of the criteria ranking. The voting should also be anonymous. Here are some criteria that might be useful for your decision-making process.


Does this option solve the existing problem? Can you apply it to your business? Usability and practicability are essential to understanding if a certain idea is helpful. How quickly can you integrate this idea, and how much would it cost for your company to implement it?


Earning a profit is the desired outcome for almost any company. Can this idea bring profit to the company? What is the earning potential? 


Do you understand everything this idea entails? What kinds of problems can you face if you decide to go with this option? Choosing the choice you know most about is one of many ways to select the best one. Going with the easiest option is not always the best decision, but getting to know everything about the possible solution is vital.

Ways To Refine Your List of Ideas

Narrowing down the list and choosing the right option is difficult. Thankfully, many methods could help with idea selection.

Dot Voting

It is a technique where you write all the ideas generated during the ideation session on sticky notes. Each participant is given 3-4 votes to choose their personal favourites. Participants vote by placing dots on the idea they like. In the end, the ideas with more dots are selected for further examination.

Affinity Diagrams

The affinity diagram is a technique that allows you to cluster similar ideas together and see a connection between them. Collect all the options in one place, and then go through them. Make sure duplicates are eliminated, and group ideas according to similar characteristics. By doing so, it will be easier for you to see the prominent themes and connections between ideas.

Four Categories Method

The four categories method divides ideas into four groups: most rational, most delightful, daring, and long shot. The participants are asked to fill in all the categories. It helps to cover every idea, from the easiest to the most complicated ones.

Six Thinking Hats

The Six Thinking Hats method helps to explore an idea from different perspectives. The idea comes from the book Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono. This technique helps you to look at the idea from six different perspectives. It can be used by an individual or a group of people.

  • Blue Hat (“Big Picture”)

The blue hat has a big picture in mind. It is all about structure, management, and planning that goes with a certain idea.

  • White Hat (“Facts and Information”)

The white hat focuses on facts and decides what is missing. It gathers as much information about a certain option as possible.

  • Red Hat (“Feelings and Emotions”)

The red hat allows the participants to express their feelings and emotions without any justification.

  • Black Hat (“Negative”)

With the black hat on, you assess the risks and think about everything that can go wrong.

  • Yellow Hat (“Positive”)

With the yellow hat on, you think optimistically. You explore the positive aspects of a certain idea.

  • Green Hat (“New Ideas”)

The “green hat” is a mode of creative thinking.  You think about any new ideas and ways they can help to fix your problem.

To ensure the best results, your team can try different techniques to select the most promising ones.

Digital Idea Selection

In modern times, apps are becoming more widely used. You can find plenty of apps that can help you organise, manage, and choose ideas. 

Here are some of them.

  • Idea Drop is software that helps to evaluate new ideas. It has a feature to detect the same ideas to avoid repetition. Moreover, Idea Drop protects confidentiality by anonymising who submitted the ideas.
  • Ideawake is an idea management software that has customisable submission forms. It can help to categorise your ideas.
  • Brightidea helps to collect, share, develop, and report on ideas. This app is also great for during brainstorming sessions.
  • Monday is an app that looks like a mind map. It can help you improve the existing options with the help of your employees’ contributions to the ideas.

What To Do With the Selected Ideas?

After deciding on a couple of excellent ideas, move to Design Thinking’s next stage – prototyping and testing. Make sure you’ve selected different ideas to ensure you find the best option.

Leaders and managers often need to make important decisions. Getting to know the option in more detail is crucial for its later implementation. However, doing all the research in the world does not guarantee success. That is why, every time you make a decision, you need to let others know why you’ve decided on this option. With strong justification, it will be easier for the team to understand your motivation and accept it. Even if something goes wrong, your team will know you made the best possible decision with the existing options.

That’s a Wrap on Ideation Sessions

The ideation session ends with a variety of options that could be difficult to manage and organise. With the help of different idea selection methods, it makes it easier for the team to refine the list. Once the most plausible options have been selected, it is time to move to the next stages of Design Thinking to bring those ideas to life. 

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