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: is the concept a good fit for the company?


The INGENUITY Factor is a measure of potential customer impact, and answers the key question: does the concept solve a problem uniquely?


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


The Idea Score® is generated by completing an 18-question survey, the results of which are fed into a proprietary data algorithm developed by examining a vast array of historical innovations. You can rate your own idea of course, but the more people you get to complete the survey, the more objective and accurate the assessment will be. Our algorithm can accommodate an unlimited number of responses.


Complete the eighteen-question survey online


Ask those familiar with your concept to complete the survey


We will email your results wherever you wish. That’s it!


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 exactly do I get?

You get exactly what you would get if you asked for your credit rating: a number from 500 to 850, with 850 representing a groundbreaking, commercially successful innovation. In the future we will offer additional analysis and diagnostics.

What is the rating scale?

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

For relative comparison, innovations such as the iPhone, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon Prime, Zappos, Netflix, Uber, Air BnB, and successfully funded startups have Idea Scores in the “Excellent” range.

How public is my Idea Score? Can someone steal my idea?

Your Idea Score is delivered only to the email address you provide. Once you receive it, it’s yours to share or keep private. We do not disclose either your score or your email address to anyone. In fact, we will only use your email address to send you your result. We will not use it for marketing or other purposes.

No one can steal your idea. You do not even need to describe your idea. Use a fictitious or code name if you wish! (Just make sure everyone you enlist to rate your idea uses the same code name.)

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.

Why is the Idea Score free?

At this point in our development journey, we are focused first on strengthening our algorithm to the very best indicator of future success in innovation. The more data we get, the better the model becomes. In the future, we may offer deeper factor analysis and diagnostics, but the Idea Score will remain free.

I entered all 5's, why isn't my score 850?

The data algorithm is not a simple weighted survey scoring. (We wouldn’t need a data science approach if that were the case. The score then would be no different than other self-reported assessments out there.) It is based on an indexed regression analysis of thousands of innovative concepts with varying degrees of success. Your idea is being compared to those. Thus, the score cannot be “gamed.” Entering responses that are all “Strongly Agree,” or “5” on the response scale, will not result in the highest (or even high) score. Think of the response scale as simply symbols, rather than mathematical points of some kind.

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.

Idea Score

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