Thursday, April 17, 2014

Effective Group Evaluation of Ideas-Creation and Selection

Groups work together to come up with ideas. These groups may be inter or intra-company formations that focus on particular problems. The process in which they generate ideas and evaluate these ideas is important for the development of stronger business models and group decision-making. A study Harvey & Kou (2013) focused on evaluating group decision-making and found that the idea generation process eventually moves into four modes of group interaction that can be used individually or in combination to determine the merits of each idea. 

The group process is important for determining how groups work through problems and find solutions. With greater understanding it is easier to formulate and train groups to make better decisions that have a real impact on the environment. The power of group decisions may be based in their ability to generate more ideas and evaluate those ideas from multiple perspectives.

The four different ways in which evaluation processes occur is in parallel interactions where several ideas are generated and evaluated, interactive evaluation by which a couple of ideas are evaluated based upon group goals, brainstorming without evaluation, and sequential evaluation whereby one’s idea is generated and evaluated before introducing another. 

Brainstorming without evaluation is great for generating ideas but these ideas will eventually need to be evaluated through the group process to determine which are most likely to work. The Use of collective development of creative products works best when small and diverse groups are able to draw on multiple perspectives and expertise to create new and useful ideas to be evaluated for those that achieve potential goals (Nemeth, 1997). 

The process of brainstorming (ideation) and evaluation helps to ensure that the quality of ideas is beneficial (Paletz and Schunn, 2010). Ideas should start out as free flowing to create as many different pathways to understanding as possible. Potential problems can be seen from different perspectives and backgrounds. The evaluation process ensures that those who are most likely to be successful are selected for use or further study. 

They found that groups used an evaluation-centered sequence whereby a small group of ideas were evaluated in parallel form. This helped the group to create a mental problem framework that allowed them to elaborate and integrate their ideas. The study does help highlight how defining group goals is important for encouraging a mental framework to understand the problem and how the potential solutions may work. Without this evaluation process it would be difficult for the group to formalize potential avenues for solving problems. 

Harvey, S. & Kou, C. (2013). Collective engagement in creative tasks: the role of evaluation in the creative process in groups. Administrative science quarterly, 58 (3). 

Nemeth, C. (1997) ‘Managing innovation: When less is more. California Management Review, 40 (Fall): 59–74.

Paletz, S., and Schunn, C. (2010). ‘A social-cognitive framework of multidisciplinary team innovation. Topics in Cognitive Science, 2: 73–95.

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