Not All Bad Ideas Are Created Equal


David McCandless of Information Is Beautiful took a closer look and tried to chart “a taxonomy of ideas” on a two-axis graph

(much like New York magazine’s popular “Approval Matrix”).

Any idea you’ve ever had should fit somewhere in these four quadrants.

The upper-right zone is the promised land, the intersection of “functional” and “well-structured” ideas where everything from “genius” to “interesting” lies. (“Boring” is also in there on the border, but mostly it’s the good stuff.) The lower left (between “dysfunctional” and “poorly structured”) is the idea graveyard where most self-flagellating creative types probably think they spend most of their time. It could be worse, though–right smack in the middle is the zero point, for “no idea” at all.

What the chart doesn’t capture, of course, is that ideas are motile, evolving creatures. They don’t just pop out of our heads in one form and lay there passively. Well, sometimes they do–but the key to getting ideas that live in that vaunted upper-right corner isn’t simply waiting for “genius” to strike like lightning. Most ideas flop into existence somewhere near the center, or one of the axes: They’re young, half-baked, one-dimensional. Effort and work and willpower are what drags them into better territory on the graph. What might be interesting is to graph ideas themselves: After all, a bad idea might have the nugget of a good one contained within it. Likewise, a good idea invariably has bad stuff mixed in.

McCandless’s chart is a work in progress, an idea itself. Where would it sit in the “taxonomy of ideas”? Right now, it’s probably somewhere between “neat” and “interesting.” Maybe after a few iterations (McCandless openly solicits feedback on his site), it’ll inch a few more notches up–and rightward.

AN ARTICLE BY JOHN PAVLUS

[via Information Is Beautiful; top image: Margo Harrison/Shutterstock]

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About Framework Marketing Group

Framework Marketing Group has access to and is able to provide a range of co-ordinated creative thinkers…as and when you need them. It’s a marketing communications company with a toolbox of resources able to be used on an “on-demand” basis. The focus is on communication tools that evaluate brand strategies and interpret consumer behaviour to ensure a consistent and practical brand communications programme. Specifically: 1. Build strategic marketing plans: Understanding market data so strategic marketing plans have practical outcomes and communications to target markets are effective. 2. Communication audits From analysis of all messages – understand how customers really think and then recommend improvements to messages and media channel selection 3. Brand evaluations Establish how robust the brand equity is with each target market so communications to them is relevant 4. Integrate all communication channels Recommend an effective mix of communication channels to achieve economies of scale timing and content compatibility 5. Interpret market research Understand and fix gaps in market knowledge for consumers, customers and staff 6. Sales strategies Develop sales strategies from a foundation of core marketing platforms so all communications to market are complementary to each other
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