2.5 Needs Filtering

Chapter 2.5
Additional Resources

As described in Chapter 2.5, needs filtering is an iterative and experiential process, requiring the innovator to experiment with different screening criteria and rating methods to ensure that nothing is missed.  The steps below have been excerpted from the chapter and are presented with active web links to assist innovators in getting started.

Select Screening Criteria
  1. What to Cover – Define the most important criteria that will be used to filter the needs. Consider several objective factors that accurately identify strong opportunities of interest to investors, physicians, and prospective employees. Next, consider subjective factors which reflect the interests and priorities of the innovator. Capture these factors in a database or spreadsheet.
  2. Where to Look – Refer to information gathered through research as part of the needs screening process (chapter 2.1 through 2.4) for ideas on what factors to consider. An innovator should also revisit his/her strategic focus for help identifying the more subjective criteria (1.1 Strategic Focus). Network with others in the field and ask for their input on the most important criteria before filtering needs.

Assign Ratings
  1. What to Cover – Develop an appropriate rating scale and rate each need against the chosen factors. Remember to evaluate the benefit that results from addressing or eliminating the need to ensure that the assessment remains solution-independent. Document all ratings in the database or spreadsheet.
  2. Where to Look – Refer back to 1.3 Need Statement Development for information about keeping needs solution-independent.

Calculate Scores
  1. What to Cover – Decide on an approach for combining all ratings to come up with a single score for each need. Assign weights to each factor, as appropriate. Calculate scores and do a “gut check” of the approach being used. Make required adjustments and record the scores in the database or spreadsheet.
  2. Where to Look – There are few external resources to assist in this exercise. An innovator must rely on his/her own critical analysis skills to perform this step in the process.

Filter Needs
  1. What to Cover – Decide on an approach for filtering the needs with respect to a particular number of desired needs versus a threshold score. Directly compare scores across needs and eliminate some according to the chosen approach. Perform additional research, adjust ratings and score (as needed), and go through the filtering process again until the list of needs has been refined to a manageable number.
  2. Where to Look – As with the previous step, there are few external resources to assist in this exercise.
Create Need Specification(s)
  1. What to Cover – The final step in the needs finding process is to create a need specification for each of the remaining needs. Leverage common information across needs where it makes sense, but make sure that a unique specification (especially the need criteria) is created for each need. Where appropriate, revisit the needs filtering process if information is gleaned that may affect the prioritization process.
  2. Where to Look – Network with other innovators and ask to review need specifications they may have written in the past. Review and consider the outputs from chapters 2.1 through 2.4 independently and collectively in creating the specification.


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