Our monthly look at the tools you can try when in search of your next big idea looks at NESTA’s Evidence Planning tool, which helps you make sure your problem really exists.
What is it?
The Evidence Planning tool is one created by the National Endowment for Society, Technology and the Arts – NESTA – the innovation foundation. They describe it as:
“A quick way to help articulate and improve what you are trying to accomplish, especially designed for practitioners to invent, adopt or adapt ideas that can deliver better results.“
What is it for?
Let’s say you’re interested in “improving brand awareness” – this tool will help you to work out exactly why you want to do that and provide you with clear evidence that you want to proceed… or not, in some cases (mass brand awareness may kill a boutique vibe, for example).
How does it work?
You start off in the middle by writing down your key focus. Then you look at the four quadrants to see how that key focus will enhance, replace, re-use or limit what you do. You’re encouraged to think of the questions not just in micro terms, but from the point of view of the wider world.
Who is it for?
Anyone who thinks they have a problem that needs solving, and needs to make sure that they really do. In many cases the tool will give them the validation they need – and will provide a variety of areas on which it would make sense to focus.
If we stick with “improving brand awareness”, for example, the tool might lead to thoughts about how commitment to this path would need you to shake off past values or invest in new talent.
How long does it take?
How long is a piece of string? On a major project, this could help inform the background thinking for weeks – but it could equally help you to approve/kill ideas in a very short time.
1/5. Simple and effective.
Why we love it
Due to time pressures we sometimes don’t spend enough time validating what we perceive to be the problem and poking around a bit. Before throwing everything but the kitchen sink at fixing something, the Evidence Planning tool gives you a clear picture of whether or not it needs fixing in the first place.
Pay particular attention, then, to that bottom right-hand quadrant!
If you’re interested in hands-on practice in creativity tools and techniques join our next Open Creative Ninjas training or Creative Strategy Training or book one for your in-house team. Contact email@example.com