Categorized | Idea Screening

Bringing Your Product to Market 4.3. Idea Screening

4.3. Idea Screening

Idea screening is a process, formal or informal, through which you evaluate a product or service idea to determine if it’s worth the time and money to develop further. Idea screening answers two basic questions:

  • Is this product feasible? Is this service doable?
  • Will I make a profit?

The whole point of idea screening is to avoid making a mistake before you’ve devoted too many resources to it. Keep in mind, though, that there are two types of mistakes you can make, not just one:

  • The first, which you can easily imagine, is a go error. You fall victim to this error when you go forward with a bad idea. It’s pretty easy to figure out when you’ve made this error: you’re staring at a warehouse of unsold merchandise wondering what to do next!
  • The second is called a drop error; it’s a bit harder to figure out if you’ve made this type of error. You fall victim to a drop error when you reject a good idea. Here’s a great example of a drop error: Xerox was the first to develop the GUI computer interface, but the suits didn’t think it would sell. Steve Jobs got a tour of the Xerox GUI operating system, went back to Apple, copied it, and made a more money than he could count.

So, when you’re thinking about your product, you can make two good decisions and two bad ones. The two good decisions are going with a good idea or rejecting a bad idea. The two bad decisions are going with a bad idea or rejecting a good idea. Idea screening is the process of arriving at one of the two good decisions while avoiding the two bad ones.

4.3.1. Techno-Business Solutions: How to Screen an Idea

Our purpose in this book is to provide you with free or inexpensive Internet resources to help you succeed in your venture. Techno-Business Solutions is a consulting company designed for mid- to large-sized businesses, so you should consider them out of your range. However, they offer a number of free articles that, although poorly written, do offer incredible insights into some very difficult processes. We are particularly fond of their thorough and rich discussion of idea screening. While it is written to career professionals in large businesses, it behooves you to look it over thoroughly and adopt as many of the processes as you can in developing your own product.

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