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Contributors Christian Kohls
Last modification May 16, 2017
Source Kohls (2016)[1]
Pattern formats OPR Alexandrian
Learning domain


You have decided on several ideas that have the highest potential, maybe with a Voting. Maybe you have already run a Reality Check (Reality Check) for each idea and you really want them done.


With limited resources you cannot follow up with all ideas at the same time.


Some ideas are low hanging fruits and easy wins while others require a lot more work.

Other ideas have a high probably of success while others have a high risk but also a high innovation potential. What`s better: just follow the low-risk, low-innovation ideas or the high-innovation, high-risk ideas first?

Some ideas depend on other ideas. When you start a new platform (e.g. a new game console) you also need to create an ecosystem of developers. Ideas are interrelated. If you have an idea for a new product you may have other ideas to research and address the market. Again, ideas interrelate.

There might be some sequence that is better than others. Failure of one idea could mean that other ideas have to be put on-hold as well. It could also mean that one idea is canceled in favor of another idea. Voting on ideas can draw a clear picture which ideas are favored. But it does not answer which ideas should be started with because the rating does not correlate to the complexity of an idea.


Therefore, prioritize ideas by comparing their properties. You can always take two ideas and evaluate them against each other and decide which one has higher priority. By comparing each pair of ideas to each order, a clear order emerges. The criteria for comparison should be clearly defined, for example urgency, importance, feasibility, innovation potential, etc.

  1. Identify all ideas you really want to follow up. Voting is one way to achieve this.
  2. Pair compare ideas with each other and bring them in order.
  3. Comparison should be based on facts, discussions or evaluation by The Jury.
  4. The objective of this pattern is first things first. So make sure that ideas with highest priority get most attention for the moment.
  5. You can draw a “cutting edge” between high priority ideas that are turned into project right away and low priority ideas that are put on-hold for the moment

You can prioritize ideas by drawing numbers next to them. An even better way is to have items that can be moved around and put into order. These items can even be arranged on a timeline. This is especially helpful if there are dependencies of ideas, one idea needs to be implemented in order to enable another idea.

Setting priorities this way can replace Voting. A disadvantage compared to voting is that the process is a little less democratic and transparent because very often the loudest in the group take more influence on the prioritization. So Voting (Voting) can help to have common ground first and then setup the right priorities for ideas. However, this could also disappoint some members of the group because the priorities might not reflect the order of the Voting (Voting). The idea with most votes might not necessarily the idea with highest priority because other factors are taken into account (such as being a low hanging fruit, or first required step). The “cutting edge” is a good visual representation of which ideas have the highest priority at the moment. But it can be frustrating if ideas that have been fairly voted on are put on hold for other business reasons.


  1. Kohls, C. (2016). The magic 5 of innovation: judgement patterns. In Proceedings of the 21st European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (EuroPLoP 2016) (p. 21). New York:ACM.