Business Toolkits for Innovation, Management, and Solving Problems
There are many good and bad concepts, areas, books, methodologies and tools in the business world and, after a while, one starts to forget them. Among those, some of which I find useful and/ or interesting are:
Blue Ocean Strategy,
Six Thinking Hats,
Business Model Canvas.
Sometimes some of these toolkits are really hard to understand and use, while others give you moments like "How didn't I think of this before!".
Whichever the case, there are those which one should at least know of to be able to speak the same language as others in the industry.
- "If the only tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail."
Law of the instrument - Abraham Maslow
I'm also a hard believer of the "Law of the instrument" by Abraham Maslow which states, paraphrasing, "if you have just a hammer, everything looks like a nail", so I try to add items to my mental repository (and my notes) regularly.
That said, it is important to highlight that there are some of these toolkits that are designed for early-stage projects, others for startups raising investment and many more for big companies which have to develop its business and improve daily.
Each of these toolkits assumes particular situations and paradigms and were developed to support people and businesses in those situations. If you want to apply them to other situations and paradigms, you have to put the required additional effort to understand and adapt the toolkit.
If you don't understand under which paradigms a toolkit was developed, you are likely to try to apply it in a less-than-adequate way, which may complicate things instead of simplifying them.
Some evolved to be applied to other areas or industries (such as Lean Manufacturing), while others were simply designed for specific use-cases. Some are multi-faceted and multi-situational toolkits and deliver or explain ways of thinking and approaching problems (e.g. market research methodology or the 6 Thinking Hats), while others describe a series of steps to obtain a particular result (e.g. the Business Model Canvas gives an overview of a project/ business at one point in time). If you don't understand under which paradigms a toolkit was developed, you are likely to try to apply it in a less-than-adequate way, which may complicate things instead of simplifying them.
You can of course mix them and use whatever you want from each of them (which is what I always recommend), but for that, you have to first:
know they exist and,
understand them so that you can adapt the useful parts for your use-case.
Introducing new business toolkits into a team (or organization)
When trying a new toolkit in an organization or in your team, there will always be those in favor and those against it. Don't take it personally. If you want to try a new toolkit it is part of your job to understand why it could not work or why could not apply and also your responsibility to not use the toolkit if it makes more problems than those it solves.
Given that there are almost always other people involved, chances are you will have a situation where there is a strong opposition. There are many reasons why this would be the case, and I will try to list those which I have found, by my experience, to be critical when I have tried to introduce a new toolkit:
You are working with people who hate business and marketing. This is more normal and less discussed than you think. There are many which see the whole business world as work for someone else. I've seen this mostly with hardcore engineers, or some really technical people, This is not bad at all if you understand this before trying to implement a new tool or methodology. The opposite is also true and for some (most) business people all technology-related stuff is not their problem)
The company you are working for/ with has a way which has always been there, which means there is a strong opposition to anything which doesn't align with the *normal way of doing stuff*.
No one has time to learn yet another tool or methodology, especially if the normal way "works".
You are getting into the area or work of someone else without speaking with them first. They may or may not understand what you are trying to use or what you are endeavoring to achieve. In this case, bringing them into the project at the beginning and consulting with them how this new toolkit might improve things works wonders.
You are trying to do something no one asked you for. Yes, sometimes you just get the (inner)call to fix or improve something, or you just like to swim against the flow.
I've found that knowing and using these toolkits has helped me get things done (on projects, endeavors, and daily work), and I'm always trying to add (learn) new toolkits to my repository and modify/ mix methodologies and tools.
This article is the first from a series of articles (or at least I hope so) where I will try to summarize and explain such tools and methodologies along with some of my personal notes. Why? Because it helps me remember them and because I like to :smiley:
Here is a list of the articles I'm planning to write or already written. If there is any toolkit I missed, please let me know.
Other articles of this series:
And these are the articles I plan to write:
SRI's 5 disciplines of Innovation
Blue Ocean Strategy
Business Model Canvas
6 Thinking Hats
Market research methodologies
How to do meetings (according to my experience)
Diffusion of innovations (by Everett Rogers) and how it impacts you.
Productivity tools and methodologies: a review and comparison according to my experience
The art of innovation (by Guy Kawasaki)
Getting things done and Zen to do
The 5 Stages of Customer Awareness and its impact in marketing
Making Ideas Happen
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