Ideas and suggestions are cheap. Everyone seems to have a suggestion for what you should do next. Considering these ideas require your time and effort. Of course, the last idea deliverer wants their suggestion on the top of the list.

What should you do? Do you allow the squeakiest, most energetic, loudest or highest paid person to influence the list?

Here is a tool to help you understand as well as push some of the work back on the idea deliverer. Require that the deliverer go back and draw out the idea. It does not have to be perfect and fancy, but it needs to be clearly thought out. To insure this, ask for not one but 3 drawings. Require drawings of 3 different solutions to the problem they are putting forth.

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Why 3? Once they have drawn it 3 times, they will have worked through many issues with their ideas. This will make it easier for you to gather the information you need to move forward. This will also deter those that are not willing to put in the effort to explore their idea.

When you meet, start by restating the problem being solved and the persona it impacts. Have the idea deliverer lay out the 3 designs. In each drawing they will have tried to solve an aspect of the problem different ways. To get a better understanding of the thought process behind the ideas, ask them to compare the three different solutions. Ask about what works and what does not for each choice that is made. At this point, you should understand enough to ask probing questions, determine the merits of the idea, and be able to judge where it belongs on the priority list and what additional pre-work needs to be done. The idea deliverer will have worked through the problem so they will have a better sense of the challenges with their idea.

Use this strategy to help funnel suggestions and ideas, so by the time ideas get to you, they will be of higher quality and require less of your time to vet.

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