Create a short list from a large number of possible solutions.
Progressive Hurdles is a tool that was developed to take a large number of new ideas derived from your idea generating efforts and to narrow that list down to a small number of ‘best’ ideas.
Progressive Hurdles extends the existing methods of discarding the solutions that can be obviously seen as of lesser quality (Pros, Cons, and Interesting and Pareto Analysis). This reduces the information-handling load of comparing the remaining solutions (Paired Comparison Analysis and Grid Analysis) and frees up time to put all your efforts into a handful of your most promising short-listed ideas.
To perform Progressive Hurdles:
Step 1: The culling stage consists of screens built from low-cost yes/no criteria that can be answered inexpensively from locally obtainable information. These questions may be grouped into sub-stages (e.g., a sub-stage might have 3-4 yes/no questions), and the idea might pass a sub-stage if it gets at least one ‘yes’. Any idea that fails a sub-stage is not developed.
Step 2: The rating stage uses screens of medium-cost criteria, normally in sub-stage groups. The criteria are expected to involve analysis and measurement, though the criterion is still probably a yes/no threshold.
Step 3: The scoring stage involves screens that involve quite complex questions such as whether the return on investment is likely to be poor, medium, or good. These conditions are likely to give numerical measurements with each idea being tested to give a weighted score on each criterion. An overall score must exceed a pre-set figure if the idea is to pass this sub-stage hurdle, making it possible for weak points in one area to be traded against strong points in another.
Step 4: The final in-depth analysis involves the few remaining ideas that have endured all the preceding hurdles and can now be subjected to a full-cost business and market analysis.
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