Pick and mix sweets

How to pick only the sweetest creative ideas for development


The ‘Selection Matrix’ is one of 30 techniques included in our PLAYBOOK, the free toolkit for creative thinkers.


Once you have generated ideas or concepts, you need to narrow them down and select only the best for development. This tool helps you decide which ones to choose. Derived from the concept selection method coined by Stuart Pugh in 1981, it is frequently used in design, engineering and other fields.

Compare and contrast


Compare your novel ideas against each other and against existing solutions.


Use the canvas to build on each others ideas more inventively. Individually write down thoughts then build on them with “Yes, And…” contributions.


You can download the worksheet below.

Selection Matrix worksheet
Selection Matrix worksheet

More often that not, the creative process itself will identify the best criteria for evaluation. For example, in the discovery stage, users may have voiced what is important to them; what their key success criteria were. Or, in researching technologies and alternatives, you may have identified areas for competitive advantage and differentiation. If you formulated a brief, it would have identified clear goals, criteria and limitations.


The selection matrix compares ideas and designs against a benchmark – called the datum. This is usually an existing product or alternative.


List your criteria, then for each idea simply score them ‘Better’, ‘Equal’ or ‘Worse’ against the datum. The idea with be best net score wins.



The worksheet is included in our free PLAYBOOK, a collection of 30 of our favourite tools and techniques. Download them all now in the PLAYBOOK.


    Keep in touch

    We would like to send occasional updates about the PLAYBOOK and PermissionToPlay:

    Yes, keep me updated by email

    You can change your mind at any time by clicking unsubscribe in our emails. For more information see our privacy policy. By clicking below you agree to these terms.