If you've made it this far, then we've generated an enormous number of ideas. We talked about it individually, we talked about it in groups. Now, we have a really good process for generating creative insights. If you get it right, maybe you'll have tons of ideas on the table. Now, you have a new problem. Which is, which one do you go with? You'd like to think more options is better than fewer, but that's not what the research says. The research says that there's this paradox of choice phenomena. That having many ideas can be overwhelming, and keep you from picking any of them. Then even if I pick one, I regret picking it because there are so many other better ones I could have gone with. It's only regret part, but there's also the reality of a lack of resources to pursue everything. We have to make choices. That's where we get into trouble, it turns out. Then we have to figure out how to evaluate them. I have all these ideas, and if they're creative ideas, then pretty much by definition, they're going to be making us think differently, which means I might not have the right way to evaluate them at hand. The other troubling fact is that sometimes creative ideas are mixed with ideas that aren't so good, but pitched by people who are quite charming. We have to be able to differentiate between good ideas and bad ideas. I completely believe you. Even if we want really good ideas, and we generate a bunch of wonderful ideas. Now, we have a next problem, which is we've got to figure out which one of these to pursue. We've got to select and evaluate. We have to crack the puzzle of evaluation. When an editor rejected Orwell's Animal Farm, there's this great quote, it was rejected all over the place. But one of the editors said, "Look, it's impossible to sell animal stories in the United States." Oops. There's another great one. I first heard in graduate school, where these classical papers in economics, one of the Nobel Prize called The Market for Lemons. The editor's response to this paper was, "This is trivial," in the rejection letter. I'm sure Akerlof was really excited to hear that news. But you also see the opposite problem. Those are cases where works that were clearly considered genius, were rejected initially. But we also have cases where people have said, "This is going to be incredible." John Doerr, the venture capitalist, described the Segway, that thing with the wheels, and you ride on it like you're an ostrich or something. Exactly. He said, "Look, this is going to be more important than the Internet." Oops. Another example, that brand manager. It's about the Rocky Mountain Spring Water, that bottled water is the fastest-growing beverage category in America. Which is true. It's just that Coor's water doesn't sound like what you want, and nothing gets Coor's. You don't want beer-flavored water, which is what it sounds like. Huge problems in evaluating ideas. We can reject ideas that we should have accepted, and we can accept ideas that we should have rejected. It raises this challenge about evaluation. It's clearly hard. We've gotten it wrong on the biggest best ideas in the world. Part of the reason ideas are difficult to evaluate is because we're not sure what they are. But there's another perhaps bigger challenge to evaluating ideas, which is that it's challenging to know where they will go in the future. Every bit of technology in the last 150 or so years, it has this challenge of, is this going to be a big deal going forward? Trivial example, Western Union, a telegraph company in 1876, said, "Look, this telephone, it has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication, and is inherently of no value to us." Absurd today. But at that time, the telegraph was a working piece of technology, and this telephone didn't seem to add over and above what they could do with the telegraph. They couldn't envision a world in which people would talk to each other all over the place, rather than just having telegraph experts in the center of town be the source of communication. Then we see this in many, many other forms of technology as well. The head of IBM in the 1940s thought there was a world market for maybe, I don't know, five computers, rather than the billions of computers that we now have today. The good folks at Prentice Hall, the publisher, when they're publishing business books, said, "I can assure you the data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." I don't know in what area of our world today is data processing not taking place. It's just challenging to imagine a future that isn't realized yet. We're so stuck in our focus on where we are today in our current reality. Maybe the most dramatic quote along these lines is from the Commissioner of the US Patent Office in 1899 who basically said, "Look, everything that has been invented, we already have it." There's nothing left to invent in the world. It's astonishing that anyone would think that, let alone the head of the patent office, but that's the feeling that we live in a world and beyond today is just inconceivable. An additional challenge we have is that creators, the people who generate the new ideas, and the evaluators, the people who are considering them, they have different views of the same idea; they come to the idea with different knowledge and in the middle of different stories. How about an example or two? We talked about Orwell's Animal Farm or something like that. You could say Orwell thought, "Hey, that's a really great idea." Well, the editor might also have said, "That's a really great idea." If we can imagine, I don't know, a 100 point scale of how great something is, maybe the creator says, "Hey, this is fantastic, it's 100," and the evaluator says, "This is great too, that's 100." Or the creator might think, "Well, this is pretty good, it's an 80," and the evaluator might say, "Pretty good, this is an 80 as well." We do the same thing for even mundane things. I write an ordinary book about an ordinary topic and the creator says, "Look, this isn't a great book, it's a 10," and the editor says, "You're right, that's a 10 too." Look, we can have very high agreements between creators and evaluators if we form the same opinion about the same works, maybe we both agree that this is a 90 maybe we both agree this is a 10 not quite so good. Now, we can do this many, many more times across many, many different items and it produces this collection, this array of indications of the degree of match between our creator and our evaluator. But now let's step back a bit. We know that people do not always agree, so what if I say this is fantastic? This is a 90 and you say it's pretty good, it's an 80, or what if I say, "That's a 10," but you turned around and said, "No, I think that's a 20." Now, we have a little bit of disagreement between the evaluators and the creators. Now, when I endorse an idea, it's because I think it's great, so my cutoff, maybe it's 70 or 80 or whatever it might be is based on my own assessment and evaluation. But when you, as an evaluator of my idea, the creator, you are evaluating it using your cutoff, not mine, so you decide to select an idea when you think it's wonderful and it hits your threshold for willingness to accept, fund, purchase, whatever it may be. This leads to four possibilities. Some ideas we both get excited about, we call those hits; these are great products widely accepted by creators and by evaluators. Some ideas, no one is excited by, we call those correct rejections. Think of products that should never have seen the light of day and didn't make it or survive. Then there's some challenging parts, they are the ideas that I like, but you don't, we call those false alarms. I thought it was a great idea, you not so much. We can think of products that companies decided to launch but that no one wanted to buy. Then there are ideas that I didn't think were very good at all but you turned out to love them, so those are missed opportunities for me. That's a product that I could have launched and you would have liked, but I just didn't go ahead and fulfill it because I didn't see the need. The question is, what can we do to bring ourselves into alignment? How can we have more hits and correct rejections, and fewer missed opportunities and false alarms? We can try to understand our evaluators better, and that's what we're doing here in this module, we can also try to get our evaluators to see the ideas as we do every bit as exciting and every bit as wonderful as our view, and that's about pitching, we'll do that next. Either of these are going to lower disagreement between us and the people evaluating us. To understand evaluators better, we're going to stop being creators for a while, we're going to shift and think about the task of evaluating insights, inventions, enlightenments that other people have generated rather than us generating them ourselves. We get to examine what influences us when we're evaluating ideas and why creative ideas are challenging for evaluation. The view we've been taking thus far on creativity has really focused on process, how do we generate creative ideas? Now, we're really switching gears, so it's less process of generation and it's more thinking about evaluating what it is we're perceiving, that's a different task. Two main questions I think we need to explore. Why would we think that something is creative in the first place? What leads us to form that evaluation? Then the second question is, can we get better at identifying the good stuff from the not-so-good stuff. Those are our tasks.