How-Now-Wow Matrix

Action, Closing, Opening

Brainstorming, Gamestorming, Group-prioritization, Ideation & idea generation, Vision

Big picture, Creativity / create, Evaluation

Up to 15 min, Up to 30 min, Up to 60 min

6-15 persons, 16 – 30 persons

Beginner

Safe

Introduction

When people want to develop new ideas, they most often think out of the box in the brainstorming or divergent phase. However, when it comes to convergence, people often end up picking ideas that are most familiar to them. This is called a ‘creative paradox’ or a ‘creadox’.

The How-Now-Wow matrix is an idea selection tool that breaks the creadox by forcing people to weigh each idea on 2 parameters.

This game naturally follows the creative idea generation phase and helps players select ideas to develop further.

Necessary tools (what you need)

 

  • Pick a videoconferencing tool of your choice.
  • Pick an online whiteboard toolthat allows using large, zoomable canvas.

Steps

1. Preparation. Draw a 2-by-2 matrix as above. The X-axis denotes the originality of the idea and the Y-axis shows the ease of implementation.

Label the quadrants as:

  • Now/Blue Ideas – Normal ideas, easy to implement. These are typically low-hanging fruit and solutions to fill existing gaps in processes. These normally result in incremental benefits.
  • How/Yellow Ideas – Original ideas, impossible to implement. These are breakthrough ideas in terms of impact, but absolutely impossible to implement right now given current technology/budget constraints.
  • Wow/Green Ideas – Original ideas, easy to implement. ‘Wow’ ideas are those with potential for orbit-shifting change and possible to implement within current reality.

2. Flow:

  1. List down the ideas that emerge from the creative ideation phase on you online whiteboard.
  2. Provide each player with 3 sticky dots of each color – that is, 3 blue, 3 yellow, 3 green. 9 dots per person is typical, but go ahead and reduce/increase that number based on the time at hand and number of ideas generated.
  3. Ask each player to zoom in and vote for 3 best ideas in each category. They need to do this by adding a colored dot in front of each idea they choose.
  4. In the end, count the number of dots under each idea to categorize it. The highest number of dots of a certain color categorizes the idea under that color.
  5. In case of a tie:
  • If blue dots = green dots, the idea is blue
  • If yellow dots = green dots, the idea is green
  1. You now have a bucket of Now/Green ideas to work on further. Make sure you also collect the low-hanging blue ideas for immediate implementation and the yellow ideas to keep an eye on for the future.

Tips & Tricks

  • If you are not using an online whiteboard, we’d recommend using a collaboration tool such as Google Docs to collect the information for each step under a separate heading. Invite everyone into the document but be very clear in regards to editing rights.
  • Use voting features such as Mural’s voting session tool during the dot voting process. You can also add comments inside Google Docs or ask participants to add a thumbs up emoji to an idea in Slack to collect votes when using those tools.

The exercise is successfully completed when? Conclusion?

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