COVID has taken a toll on all of us. If you have not taken an extended vacation in a while where you disconnect, you need to now. You and your business will benefit.
Ideation is key in an organization as it faces the challenges of a changing environment. What new ideas, thoughts, understanding, and logic can we bring to the situation before us. This may sound easy, but I have found that when challenged to do so, the thought process slows down very quickly, and after a few ideas have been thrown out and rejected, a form of hopelessness takes over. Face Idea Generation is Hard!
So how to solve this problem?
Working with some teams recently, I have come across the following system, which, while not perfect, helps get closer to what we want to achieve. For example, let’s say the topic is “Grow repeat business.”
100 Ideas, No Less
When starting the process with your team, the first rule is that we will not stop with ideation until we have at least 100 ideas on the board. Not only do we need 100 ideas, but no one is allowed to criticize, demean, promote, or challenge any idea until the 100 are there. This rule’s logic is to stop ideas from being shut down by some of the dominant participants. It is hard to get 100 ideas up on the board, and we progress through them, they get crazier, but that is sometimes where the gems lie. So, following our example, we could have the following ideas:
- Create a membership club
- Offer discounts to repeat customers.
- Provide value behind a paywall for member customers
- Offer bundling
- Offer easy returns, e.g., Zappos.
- Provide special shopping events for repeat customers or members
- Offer suggestions to customers based on what they have purchased.
- Free shipping for members
- Special shopping days for members only
- Early access to new products for members or repeat customers
- Send you products that we believe you want and if you don’t return them then charge for them.
As can be seen from the above, many of these ideas are common, and we have seen them with Amazon and others. However, at one time, they were all new. Also, the last one, someone might think is “crazy,” but it doesn’t matter; it is still an idea to be put down.
Once you’re over 100 and there are no more ideas, time to organize. If there are still ideas at 100, don’t stop. I find organizing through Mind Mapping the best. For those of you who haven’t done Mind Mapping, take your ideas and organize them into “topics.” Elaborate on those by creating sub-topics and use short phrases or single words to identify them. Thus, once done, your 100+ ideas are organized into subtopics within topics, so it is easier to look at what each is seeking to achieve. In some cases, the ideas are just variations on prior ideas to be lumped into one. So, again looking at the ideas above, we could organize them as follows:
|Membership||Ease of Use||Promotions|
|Create a club||Offer easy returns||Special shopping events|
|Provide additional value for members||Offer bundling||Discounts|
|Special shopping events for members||Offer suggestions to customers based on prior purchases||Special shopping days|
|Free shipping for members||Free shipping for everyone|
|Early access to new products for members||Early access to new products for prior customers|
|Send products and customer decides if they want them.|
10% AND ?
Once we have divided everything into our subtopics, then we go through them one by one. Each person has to identify at least 10 percent of what they like about any idea and then add to it. The next person builds on the last person’s statement, again identifying at least 10% they like and then adding to it. This ensures that nothing is shut down and that the creative exercise can take place. By having to build on something regardless of whether or not you agree, forces you to find the best in it and make it better – KAIZEN. The number of participants in the meeting will determine how many times you go around. As you go around, each iteration is recorded. This process further frees the imagination as you have to identify something you like about the statement before you and add something good. At the end of this process, some excellent ideas may have been arrived at. Then you can use a multiple voting system for the participants to identify what they like best.
So, Give it a try!
So, give it a try; you may find you get some fascinating and novel ideas from your group. Besides, as the group’s ideas flow, you should find a greater commitment to the ideas than those that the usual dominant people promote.
Copyright (c) 2021, Marc A. Borrelli
I recently discussed how you must be famous for something. If you're famous for something it is easier to: focus on what you can be the best at, find your "tribe," tell people what you do, get referred, and define your core customer While we all know of companies...
Companies need cash to grow. If your cash conversion cycle is too long, you may not be able to finance your growth. Here is how to reduce it.
In a meeting last week, one of my Vistage members discussed his expansion into a new business area and how to price his services. The way he described the new market was comprehensive. As usual in Vistage, this lead to a great discussion challenging his assumptions...
Many businesses do not take full advantage of the value they offer to price effectively. Many struggle to price at a point that makes them a great margin. Here is a way to look at it see where you can price to improve your business.
I recently facilitated a workshop with several CEOs where we worked on the dramatic business growth model components. One of the questions that I had asked them beforehand was, "What is Your Profit/X?" The results showed that there this concept is not clear to many....
There is a war for talent. How do you attract talent to your company and have them apply for jobs there? You have to show why they should consider you, who you want, what you offer, and how your current employees feel.
Productivity remained during WFH with COVID. However, further analysis found that hourly productivity fell and was compensated for by employees working more hours. What was the culprit – Meetings. Want to increase productivity, have fewer meetings.
For those of you who are not aware of EOS, it is the Entrepreneurial Operating System. It seeks to improve businesses by getting six components aligned to enhance business operations. The six are: the vision the people the issues traction - meetings and goals...
COVID has affected everyone. However, companies need to examine if they have lived their core values during COVID, how they are reinforcing them in a WFH environment, and especially with the onboarding of new hires.