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This method can be used to assess and choose between several ideas or categories of ideas based on certain criteria, which the students decide on. The method may be used either when the students have many ideas they need to choose between or when prioritizing and selecting a few ideas.

The method can help make the students consider which criteria that are relevant for evaluating their ideas as well as how these criteria are valued in comparison to each other.


  1. The students describe a minimum of 5 criteria that they believe their ideas for a solution should live up to. Here, criteria should be understood as properties/qualities that the solution can fulfill to a greater or lesser degree, and not as requirements that can either be fulfilled or not. This could be feasibility, degree of innovation, scope of the idea, resources needed and so on.
  2. The students decide on two criteria that are relevant for evaluating their ideas. Please make sure that the students are qualifying and discussing their choice of criteria.
  3. The students then draw a matrix on a large sheet of paper with the two criteria placed in the two axes and the ideas are placed into the matrix.
  4. The students discuss whether they want to continue working only with the ideas of one specific quadrant or whether they want to work with ideas from several of the four quadrants.
  5. Based on their discussions of the ideas in relation to the criteria, the students choose the ideas they want to proceed working with in the concept development phase (search for methods for concept development here)

Worth Considering

  • As the facilitator you might consider beforehand which criteria could be relevant for the students to work with in relation to the course’s learning objectives – perhaps one criterion could be related to the students’ disciplinary competences.
  • You might encourage the students to move ideas from one quadrant to another by changing the components of the ideas – e.g. by changing an idea from being resource intensive to being less resource intensive if this was a criterion.

The method is also known as the how-now-wow matrix and the c-box method.


You need a large paper (for example a flip chart), a marker and possibly post-its.


Jonas Michanek, Idéagenten – En håndbog i idea management, 2005

Tassoul, M. (2006) Creative Facilitation: a Delft Approach, Delft: VSSD

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