Strategy ideation begins with the insights of self-assessment and competitive analysis, the organization understands the current conditions and their capabilities. It is time to build the team. The team can range from an individual to an entire organization but typically more than a few individuals with vast domain experiences are needed to develop a sound strategy. The overarching goal is to engage the entire organization into the process. The secondary goal would be to build a team that has a very diverse background so that multiple perspectives and ideas are considered. To prime the team for their brainstorming session, it is ideal to put the team and leadership through an initial training phase on how to behave and interact with each other during a brainstorming session to ensure that the culture and environment that they create elicits maximum divergent thoughts and opportunities of exploration.
The creative brainstorming session can begin once the team is primed for ideation. The brainstorming session can last a few hours, a few days, or even a few weeks. The intent of the process is to generate a range of ideas. The more ideas generated has a direct link to the quality of ideas generated. There are a variety of idea-generating activities which should include potential vertical integrations and potential value nets.
Competent brainstorming also enables the team to determine as to what are the potential value nets. A value net as defined in the 1996 book “Co-Opetition” where they designed a model that evaluates potential cooperative partnerships which would make both organizations more competitive. Their model of the strategy was to understand and predict their customers’, complementors’, suppliers’, and competitors’ behaviors and strategies. This foresight would then uncover potential opportunities to strategically partner and exploit gaps in the market.
The goal is to have an extended list of potential strategies and variants of original ideas at the end of the workshop. Phase two is to vigorously debate these concepts to fully vet out the merits and flaws of each strategy. A useful activity to enable this debate is to have the participants rank the top strategies. As they try to convince the opposing parties it builds an inclusive process that values challenging arguments over the quick decision-making process.
Another method is to have the team build an evaluation model. This model will factor in cost, risk, and impact against overall payoff in revenue, cost savings, morale, et cetera. The development of the model will provide a quantitative estimate of what are the strongest potential strategies. The key to the process is for the team to identify a minimum of three strategic hypothesizes. Then to test these hypotheses over the following weeks.
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