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"Thursday Thinking"

©2019 by Weaving Futures. 

  • Carolyn Stuart

Is this a good idea or not?

I was recently with a group of teachers who all worked in collaborative teaching spaces. One teacher asked an interesting question. "How do you manage all the good ideas when working with others?” I asked her to tell me more and she explained that when 3 or 4 teachers all work together new ideas come up daily and that it was really tricky knowing which ideas were worth pursuing. She also commented that if you are forever trying out new things then your current ideas never have a chance to embed before being overtaken by new ones. Other teachers in the conversation agreed and added that they wanted to remain open to new ideas so that their students had the best experience possible.

Education has never been short of good ideas; but it has always been short of disciplined processes to test and validate ideas before implementing them.

Luckily these teachers were part of a design thinking workshop and so we were able to investigate how to use Weaving Future’s Value Map tool to test ideas before investing time implementing them.

A Value Map is a type of lean canvas and is designed to provide a quick way to assess the value of an idea. Weaving Futures' Value Map asks you to make notes on the following:

  • Five Whys - Note why this idea matters; then ask why that matters, then ask why that matters again. Keep going until you have drilled through five why layers. NB each ‘why’ should unpack the ‘why’ above it

  • People Impact - who is impacted by the idea and will this be a positive or negative experience for them?

  • Current Reality - How is this idea more valuable than the current reality?

  • Alternatives - what are the alternatives to this idea

  • What might happen if this idea isn't implemented?

  • What gains are created by this idea

  • What pains does this idea relieve?

Finally it asks you to assess on a scale of 1-5:

  1. How desirable is this idea?

  2. How viable is this idea? (i.e. how likely is this idea to work in your current context?)

  3. How feasible is this idea? (i.e. how difficult will this idea be to implement)

The perfect idea would score fives in each category and should therefore be implemented immediately! Sometimes an idea might be highly desirable and feasible but unlikely to succeed in the current context; or an idea might be highly desirable and viable but really difficult to implement. An idea does not have to score fives in each category in order for you to implement it but how desirable, viable and feasible an idea is will give you a pretty good indication of whether the idea should be become your reality.

If you would like a copy of Weaving Futures’ Value Map that you can print off in A3 and use, then sign up for my weekly "Thursday Thinking" email and we’ll send you the Value Map as our way of saying thank you for supporting the work we do in the design thinking space.