Max Axes


  • As a quick idea sorting tool.
  • To identify priorities.
  • To clarify top project criteria.


A good idea generation session will produce 50 or 100 potential solutions. Max Axes is a tool that helps teams sort and prioritize those that are the best fit.

By having to choose just two values for the two axes, teams are forced to prioritize among their many project criteria. The values represent two extremes, such as expensive and cheap, short and long-term.

This can be used in combination with other tools, such as a matrix or dotmocracy (in which each team member gets a limited number of sticky “dots” that serve as votes. Members put their dots onto their favourite ideas, as shown on a list or sticky note).


  • Put each idea on a separate card or sticky note. Create the axes on a flip chart or white board – then sort the stickies onto it.
  • Choose the axes with care – then sort quickly, using instinct. Otherwise, you may rationalize putting an idea into a different spot.
  • This can be very effective for eliminating ideas all together. Don’t be afraid to scrap ideas that don’t fit your criteria.
  • You can also put four different criteria at each point – or turn it into a clock face and have 12 points.