A to Z of
Creativity Techniques
Multiple Redefinition

We thought NAF (New, Appeal, Feasibility) was a good title because of the irony that in England if something is Naf, it is "cheesy".

This is a simple way of scoring / assessing begining ideas following brainstorming and potential solutions to a problem after they have been explored and developed. Give a score out of 10 for each of the three items, New, Appeal, Feasibility. It is not scientific. It is gut feel which,in the context of creativity is important.

When we originally developed these NAF ratings it was to try and understand the probability of the person who had responsibility for implementing the idea of taking action. We called it clientship, which revolved around your "power to act". The amount of Novelty was not as important as how new the idea was to him/her. It did not even have to be novel. The key point was it something the problem owner had never thought of. Appeal is a gut level reaction more emotional than attractiveness which always seems to me to be more of a cerebral consideration.

The reason for these NAF ratings was to identify the probability of implementation because if something is not very new, not very appealing, but very feasible the probability of implementation is very low. Where as if something is very new (to the problem owner), has a lot of appeal and low feasibility it is worth further exploration to see if more feasibility can be invented.

After developing a range of ideas through brainstorming, it is important for the problem owner to choose something that is very new, very appealling and not to worry about feasibility. Low feasibility means there is further opportunity for invention, build in feasibility by developing ideas to overcome the shortfalls..

We developed these ideas because we found that while suspending judgement worked to help generate ideas, the problem was in the "either or thinking" that people would use to select promising ideas for further exploration. We found most often they would slip into "that is a good idea and that is not". This mental attitude got in the way of idea development and removed the possibility of getting a seed of an idea and developing it to something more useful.

When NAF ratings are used with a group, when what seems to be a satisfactory solution is reached, they can be used to quickly identify different participants' opinion about a specific outcome. For example, if somebody finds an answer very feasible and another does not, we will have identified a further issue that needs to be resolved. This is of particular importance if you need commitment to a solution in order to get real implementation.

Newness: (to the problem holder) How new is the idea to you. It may not be new to the world, you may just not have thought of it.

Appeal: How much do you like it at a gut level. This has to be high. If it is not, it means you do not really like the idea, for what ever reason. However, if it has 50/50 sort of appeal it is worth exploring because some of the things you do not like about may be possible to deal with or change and thereby increase your level of interest in the idea

Feasibility: How feasibly is it to put this into practice? on a scale of 1-10 it has to be 80% plus in order to be worthwhile trying. If it is 80% it means that while the idea is not perfect you can see how to do it and the problems, the remaining 20% are to do with implementation. Things like getting others involved, agreement, funding, time, etc. If it is less than 50% feasible, but you like it and it has high newness, then it is worth being specific about what it is that bothers you about it and turn those into new wishes or problem definitions in order to build in more feasibility.

Reference: Synectics Creative Problem Solving, skills, process and techniques, Practice Of Creativity by George Prince. Founder Synectics Inc.