PULL: Idea Generation and Evaluation

Feedback Form

PULL: Idea Generation and Evaluation

What's this for?

If you are using this tool in a programme such as IE&D at Imperial College, it is likely that you have already proposed a business idea.

However, that does not mean the idea is definitely feasible, nor that you should skip this exercise. One of the goals of your project is to determine how feasible it is, and whether it needs to be tweaked to be viable or more compelling.

This tool is especially useful if your project is a ‘Demand-Pull’ case, where you conceived your idea as a response to a problem or unmet need in the market.

The questions to answer: is the problem you aim to solve really a significant problem (not just a minor nuisance) that your customer is keen to solve? Is your solution really a compelling solution and a good fit for your users? 

You should step back from your original idea and do the complete exercise to gain perspective.

Observation must come first: really understand the problem and the user before you proceed further into the exercise.

If you have a 'Technology-Push' idea, you should go to the Technology/Application Matrix tool.

READ: Chapters 1 and 2 of The Smart Entrepreneur


This exercise is relevant not just for generating venture ideas, but also and more importantly to dig deeper and evaluate them with respect to other products, solutions or possibilities:

  • Starting from an identified business opportunity and/or problem. Is the problem real and significant? What are the underlying causes? How do potential solutions to those causes compare (suitability, quality, appeal) for your users?
  • Starting from scratch and looking for an opportunity to exploit, based on trends and/or unmet needs.

IMPORTANT: This exercise may also produce refinements to your original idea, or complementary new ideas that could improve your project. Be sure to allow all team members a chance to contribute their thoughts. It is also a decision-making exercise you can return to any time you hit a problem or roadblock in your project, and need to search for solutions.

This exercise is more effective than a simple list of ‘pros and cons’ of different products or ideas, because it asks you to score all the possible solutions against the same benchmarks.

Suggested steps

1. Click the link to access the Learning Manual: IE&D Idea Generation.  Read about the Creative Problem Solving method.

2. To run a good idea generation session, it’s useful to have:

  • A team of 4 to 6 people
  • As diverse a team as possible in terms of gender, age, profession, thinking style, and so on...
  • A deep understanding of the root causes of the problem you are addressing
  • Spent some time observing the problem closely


If you need to print out a copy of the learning manual(s) for offline use, please follow these steps:

    - Click the "Create PDF" button at the top right hand corner of the page.
    - Scroll to the "Attachment" section (at the end of the last page).
    - Click on the paperclip icon next to the manual.