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Criteria Setting

When evaluating ideas, one potential methodology is to identify a number of criteria to select against.

By assessing idea performance against the desired criteria, you can make a selection based on a balance of factors. You might choose to weight some criteria more heavily than others to reflect their relative importance.

Let’s have a look at an example:

You’re ordering a pizza, and there are three potential pizza places you could visit: Pizza Shed, Pizza Quick and Father John’s.

Your criteria are:

  • Taste
  • Price
  • Texture
  • Healthiness
  • Appetising appearance

In this problem, there are loads of potential options that you could take depending on the criteria that’s most important to you. You might be a picky eater and so taste is top of your list, or you might be tight on budget this week and be trying to cut back on costs.

In the table below, each characteristic is weighted according to how important it is. In this case, we’ve ranked taste as very important (with nine points), price and healthiness as of medium importance (three points) and texture and appearance as low (one point).

Characteristic Weighting (points)
Taste 9
Price (low is optimum) 3
Texture 1
Healthiness 3
Appetising appearance 1

Now, we need to take each pizza place and rate them out of ten for each characteristic

Characteristic Pizza Shed Pizza Quick Father John’s
Taste 8 7 8
Price (low is optimum) 6 4 9
Texture 6 8 8
Healthiness 6 8 4
Appetising appearance 7 8 6

Let’s combine the two tables. The ‘total’ underneath each pizza place will be the sum total of the characteristics, multiplied by their weighting, then added together:

Characteristic Weighting (points) Pizza Shed Pizza Quick Father John’s
Taste 9 (8x9) (7x9) (8x9)
Price (low is optimum) 3 (6x3) (4x3) (9x3)
Texture 1 (6x1) (8x1) (8x1)
Healthiness 3 (6x3) (8x3) (4x3)
Appetising appearance 1 (7x1) (8x1) (6x1)
Sum   72+18+6+18+7 63+12+8+24+8 72+27+8+12+6
Total   121 115 125

As we’ve ranked taste as the most important quality, Father John’s would come out top as its pizzas have been rated tastier than the other two pizza places. However, if someone were to rank healthiness more highly, Pizza Quick would more likely come out top.

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Unleash Your Potential: Innovation and Enterprise

University of Bristol

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