Was asked a provocative interview question by the shinin' bright Paul Williams of The Idea Sandbox.
As much as I dug his question, I dug my answer to it even more. Hope you will, too.
A) There's an easy barometer: Ignore the consensus.
Here's what I mean: If the proposed idea--any one!--is universally adopted and admired within your company, you know it's not just humdrum, but a loser. Surprising ideas shock, challenge and enrage the public, but usually start their "dirty work" inside company walls.
That said, you know you've got something good when your own colleagues get pissed off at it, bark "I won't put my name on that!" or, better yet, threaten to quit because of it. Every time I see a great Surprising marketing move, I say to myself "I wonder who quit or got fired over that one?"