Ideation Pitfalls Part 2: The Not Normal Issue

Ideation Pitfalls Part 2: The Not Normal Issue


It may surprise you to learn that you and your team are not the best people to be judging potential innovations generated at the ideation stage. Why?

So, I hate to be the one to tell you…but you, and many people in your business, are not normal!

The Not Normal Issue

Just in the UK, the disciplines that make up the vast majority of the wider field of innovation equate to just 0.85% of the adult working population. These include:

  • Marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Product design
  • Advertising
  • Website design
  • Website development

(Source: ONS)

And therefore, due to the job you do, you don’t think or behave like an average person. This is because you will:

  • Make more effort to search out and try new things
  • Try harder to understand new things
  • Dissect marketing communications and advertising with lightning speed
  • Be able to navigate websites more efficiently

These, and many other nuances, mean you approach new ideas and innovation very differently.

And we haven’t even taken account of the lifestyle you may lead in comparison to many of your customers. For example, if you earn £70,000 or over then you are in just 5% of the British population. Or how about the fact that 35% of the UK population eat in fast food restaurants at least one a week (Statisca). How often do you go?

Thus, it is important to recognise that people within your organisation cannot narrow down a selection of raw or new ideas on the basis of their personal opinion and general knowledge.

Instead; tools and methodologies are required to introduce structured, impartial measurement to eliminate personal bias.

In A Nutshell

  • Good ideas often get sabotaged as often they don’t even make it out of the ideation stage.
  • Instead, a lesser idea gets the backing and resources due the lack of impartial measurement criteria setting.
  • Strategies have to be employed to take account of the to the herd affect (see Ideation Pitfalls Part 1 : The Herd Effect) and the fact that the people who evaluate the ideas are nothing like their customers.

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Image source: The Strategy Distillery

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Shelly GreenwayShelly Greenway is a front-end innovation strategist and partner at The Strategy Distillery – a brand innovation consultancy that specialises in opportunity hunting and proposition development. Their success rates are driven by their proprietary consumer co-creation IP. Follow @ChiefDistiller

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Shelly Greenway

Front-end Innovation Strategist at The Strategy Distillery, a brand innovation consultancy that exists to increase NPD success rates.




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