5 practical ways to evaluate ideas with 2×2 matrices

When it comes to evaluating ideas, a structured approach can provide invaluable insights and clarity. An effective tool for this purpose is the 2×2 matrix, a simple but powerful framework that allows us to visualize and compare different aspects of our ideas.

Let’s explore five practical examples of 2×2 matrices and how they can help evaluate different concepts, projects and strategies.

Creative height vs. Feasibility

A four fielder with Creative height vs. Feasibility is a classic 2×2 framework used to evaluate potential projects or initiatives.

On the vertical axis we assess the creative height of the idea and the impact the idea can have, while on the horizontal axis we evaluate its feasibility.

Ideas that fall into the High Creative Height and High Feasibility quadrant are the most desirable, as they offer significant leaps with manageable risks and good clarity of idea. Conversely, ideas in the low creative height and low feasibility quadrant may not be worth your time.

This matrix helps us prioritize ideas based on their potential benefits and not just based on whether we understand the idea based on its feasibility.

Effort vs. Impact

When choosing between several ideas or projects, the Effort vs. Impact help us identify the most promising options.

On the horizontal axis we consider the effort required to implement the idea, and on the vertical axis we assess the impact the ideas can have.

The sweet-spot is in the low-effort, high-impact quadrant, indicating ideas that produce significant results with minimal effort. This matrix helps prevent wasting resources on ideas with little return on investment.

Potential vs. Risk

For companies or organizations that want to promote innovation and at the same time manage risks, potential vs. risk is a valuable tool.

On the vertical axis we analyze the level of innovation associated with the idea, while on the horizontal axis we evaluate the possible risks.

Ideas in the high innovation potential and low risk quadrant represent opportunities to push boundaries without exposing the organization to unnecessary dangers.

This matrix encourages a balanced approach to innovation, ensuring that risk is considered for potential disruptive ideas.

Short-term vs. long-term effect

When evaluating ideas with different timeframes for impact, short-term versus long-term impact can provide insights.

On the horizontal axis we assess the short-term impact of the idea, while on the vertical axis we evaluate its long-term potential. Ideas that score high on both aspects are ideal, as they provide immediate benefits while laying the foundation for sustainable, long-term growth.

This matrix helps companies find a balance between immediate results and future success and starts discussion about how ideas with great long-term change potential can also provide short-term gains that make them easier to gain acceptance for.

Cost vs. Benefit

The matrix cost vs. benefit is a useful tool for individuals and organizations considering investments or expenditures.

On the vertical axis we analyze the cost of implementing the idea, while on the horizontal axis we evaluate its potential benefit.

Ideas that offer significant benefits relative to their costs fall into the high-benefit-low-cost quadrant and should be prioritized.

This matrix helps optimize decision-making by identifying cost-effective ideas with significant returns.


Thus, 2×2 matrices are versatile tools that can significantly improve the evaluation of ideas, projects and strategies. By using these matrices to visualize different dimensions of our concepts, we gain valuable insights and clarity that aid in decision-making.

Whether we’re prioritizing initiatives, managing risk, fostering innovation, or optimizing resource allocation, 2×2 matrices are valuable on the journey to good idea evaluation and implementation.