Justin Berg, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of business, published a paper exploring people’s ability to identify their most creative ideas when ideating. He found spending time assessing initial ideas led to prioritizing more concrete, safe ideas to the top of the list and more abstract, riskier ideas lower. But if those abstract ideas were further developed, over time they were likely to be seen as having greater potential.
It’s human nature to quickly see the opportunity in ideas that are familiar and more developed, so the challenge in innovation is culling out the potentially more transformational idea nuggets and giving them time and attention to further develop. Even the most abstract ideas need to be fleshed out a bit more to gain the support of others.
As you evaluate your bank of ideas for further development, make sure you have both some “safe bets” with obvious potential, but also some “long-shots” that require more thinking and development to fully realize their upside.