Technique 39

Paired Comparison Analysis

Rank design concepts against each other in pairs.


Paired comparison analysis relies on a simple matrix format to compare different and often divergent innovation ideas or design concepts, enabling you to choose the one that gives you the greatest chance of success. For instance, a carmaker might have five different design configurations for a new gas/electric hybrid; which design is the best one for the market?

Use paired comparison analysis when you need to compare either more upstream innovation ideas or more downstream design concepts. This technique is especially helpful when you don't have objective data regarding how different ideas could meet your customers' Outcome Expectations (see Technique 3), or when you're uncertain about how different design concepts could satisfy different Functional Requirements (see Technique 33).

Part of this technique's advantage is that it's easier to use than other comparative techniques such as the Pugh Matrix (Technique 40). Therefore, paired comparison analysis enables you to quickly but comprehensively assess the relative worth of all your options before committing to any specific one.


Scenario: Let's imagine an advertising agency that has the opportunity to land a multimillion-dollar client who wants to launch a new product (over-the-counter, common-cold medication). The client wants to know what the advertising theme will be and what other themes were considered. The ad agency uses paired ...

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