SSIR has an interesting article, "Why Criticism is Good for Innovation". The article advocates the use of a rubric to evaluate new projects or products. A rubric is a scoring tool to evaluate criteria relevant to an analysis. The real value is that referring to the rubric reduces the risk that a comment is taken as a criticism, thereby potentially demotivating the creative type. The article does not suggest the outline of such a rubric, but I will.
For a new product or project, a rubric should evaluate the feasibility of commercialization. The factors that should be considered would include:
- Market--size (based on bottom up methods) and growth rate
- Customer--target customer, estimated customer acquisition cost and lifetime value
- Competition--Company, products, pricing, features
- Unit Economics--marginal product revenue and cost (assumes production has been thought through)
- Sales and Distribution--sales and marketing cost
- Investment to Cash Flow Breakeven
- Scaleability--can the execution strategy scale
Perhaps assign ratings of high, medium and low to reflect attractiveness or risk. Smarter yet, work on each factor until it has a high positive rating.
These factors should give one sufficient opportunity for feedback on objective issues such that one would never make the "criticism" personal.