When looking at a proposal, someone else’s project, or even my own writing I check the depth and breadth of the piece. Has this work gone deep enough into the subject matter and wide enough in scope? If not, I send it back with a few suggestions for improvement. Whether it’s a one hundred word blog post or a two thousand word article the question is the same.
How does one add depth? One way is to examine the historical context of your problem. Has this problem come up before and how was it treated? Most problems are layered. Can you separate the layers into distinct pieces that can be individually examined?
Breadth is achieved by taking a wide view of a problem and connecting the dots between similar issues. Even if they are not in your industry or directly related to your problem, they may have relevance. Patterns that emerge can often become part of the narrative of the story you are working to tell.
If you aren’t a writer and are in a service industry then you can look for ideas and perform your due diligence in a similar manner. The key is to not be afraid to look at ideas and concepts that are outside of your frame of reference or comfort zone. This is the foundation of any innovation project.