Facilitating high quality idea evaluation using telescoping

Basadur, M.S., Basadur S., Basadur, T.M. and Beuk, F. (2009). Facilitating high quality idea evaluation using telescoping. Presented at Academy of Management Annual Conference, Chicago, August.


Research studies of group creativity and innovation commonly utilize the traditional two-step diverging (ideation) –converging (evaluation) thinking process (Baer, 2003). This research has focused mostly on the ideation step using the tool of brainstorming to generate ideas to solve problems, with relatively little attention given to improving group skills in performing the evaluation step and understanding its role in yielding high quality creative solutions. In this study, we propose that while the evaluation step is fundamental for making judgments and for the selection of ideas and options, when performed skillfully it can contribute much more to the creative process. These contributions include significantly improving the quality of the ideas being evaluated while they are being evaluated, creating emergent new and different ideas, and building consensus. A hands-on, effective, research-based cognitive evaluation tool called “telescoping” which offers the capability of evolving optimal decisions without sacrificing high levels of consensus is introduced. The decision making literature abounds with well known obstacles which prevent groups from achieving this combination. How skillful execution of telescoping addresses these obstacles is shared. Field research is reported that supports the superiority of telescoping versus majority vote in real world idea evaluation.

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