Idea evaluation is hard work. According to existing literature, only 6 percent of all "official" ideas and 14 percent of promising ideas that reach a development phase become commercial successes.

It's tempting to think of these two cognitive processes as independent: Do one, and then the other. But a group of researchers found in 2016 that interrupting idea-generation sessions with idea-evaluation exercises produced ideas with higher originality. It activated neural pathways in participants' prefrontal cortices that remained enhanced during subsequent idea-generation exercises.

By mixing idea evaluation into generation sessions and vice versa, you'll give yourself better options. Take breaks during idea-generation sessions to ask:

  • Which idea(s) already mentioned do we feel have the most potential to become our top choices?
  • Could we combine these ideas in a way that would be better than any single idea?
  • Are there any new ideas stirred during the evaluation process we missed?