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The Idea Score® is an innovation index that serves as a FICO-like “credit rating” for projects in a company’s innovation portfolio, enabling managers to evaluate and compare innovative concepts, as well as prioritize and allocate investment resources.

Like a credit score, it acts as a “meta metric” by being a single predictive indicator of the project’s eventual impact or success, based on three primary factors: Fit, Ingenuity, and Scale.

Like credit scoring, the Idea Score® is based on an innovation index with 850 as the highest score.


The FIT Factor is a measure of potential organizational impact, and answers the key question: Does this concept represent a good fit for my company, group or team?


The INGENUITY Factor is a measure of potential customer impact, and answers the key question: Does this concept solve a problem in an innovative way?


The SCALE Factor is a measure of potential customer impact, and answers the key question: Will the market reward us with a return on our innovation?


Why a score?

Imagine you have a dozen seemingly great concepts you’re considering, but you can’t chase all of them. And even if you could, where would you start? Having an innovation index like the Idea Score® helps you focus and prioritize. For example, if one concept scores 800 while another scores 625, you know where to focus your resources!

Who is the Idea Score® intended for?

While the Idea Score® can be used by anyone with an innovative concept aspiring to launch a startup, it is often most valuable for those working within the context of an organization looking to grow the business.

What is the rating scale?

Ideas are scored using the same indexed rating scale as FICO credit scores. Here are the ranges and ratings.

Who developed the Idea Score®?

The Idea Score® is the brainchild of innovation advisor and best-selling author Matthew E. May,  partnering with a data scientist to develop and test the concept. The Idea Score® is a registered trademark owned by Matthew E. May.

How was the Idea Score® developed?

We began a half decade ago by surveying hundreds of managers in companies of all sizes and kinds, including venture firms. At the same time we studied a multitude of historical innovations, both public and within client companies with whom we worked on innovation initiatives. We performed analyses of all of this data to identify key factors. These factors explain nearly all of the variance in the data. Following the factor analysis, we performed several regression analyses to identify the most impactful questions within the data set. The key dependent variable was perceived or actual commercial or organizational success. We then built an algorithm using an index and scoring method similar to credit rating indices. Finally, we subjected the questions to rigorous confirmation, enlisting several hundred individuals in a number of large companies. This allowed us to effectively “teach” the base model.

What do I do if my idea receives a low score?

The Idea Score is not meant as the definitive parameter of success, but rather a simple leading indicator enabling the innovator to make considered decisions regarding the life of the concept: persevere, pivot, or abandon. In the future we will offer more in-depth diagnostics for development purposes.

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