While in the phase of generating ideas, you explore numerous possibilities. But when should you halt this exploration? How do you discern which idea merits pursuit?

Optimal stopping isn’t limited to ideation; it applies broadly across life’s decisions. Knowing when to conclude a sales pursuit, when to wrap up candidate interviews, or when to continue or end a relationship—all hinge on this principle.

The famed Secretary Problem offers a mathematical solution regarding the timing of achieving success in a scenario. I’m keen on applying this concept to ideation.

When brainstorming ideas, jot them down. Alternatively, if the problem to solve is crystal clear, outline various approaches to tackling it.

Let’s focus on the Look-Then-Leap principle. It involves setting a timeframe to gather ample information for an idea. No matter how enticing it seems, after this phase, move on to the next idea, continuing this cycle if there are multiple concepts. Finally, assess the data collected for each idea and its alignment with your execution capabilities.

Using available data, determine which idea holds merit for progression. Moreover, integrating prototyping and MVP during this phase increases the likelihood of realizing a successful idea by testing it with actual clients.

Although the Look-Then-Leap phase might be lengthy, granting ideas a substantial incubation period significantly boosts the chances of crafting a successful one.

I’d love to hear about your experiences applying this approach!

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