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Think your way into innovation #1

Do you feel like you and your business have been hit with a brick and it’s looking terminal?  Before you press the stop button work through some of these exercises in strategic thinking to see if you can innovate your way back to business health. NOTE: There are grants available to cover the cost of this kind of consulting with an accredited accountant.

 You are going to be doing a fair of thinking and analysis so the tools you will need are

a) a few hours of time

b) either access to a document creating program like MS Word or plain old pen and paper

c) motivation to really put some mental effort into these exercises.

1. Let’s work out what your business is and how it pulls together:

a) what are the products and or services you currently provide. List them all where possible.

b) List the plant and equipment you have.  Look at them with different eyes now.  What is their capacity, what things can they do – that you might not even be using them for right now.

c)What kind of motor vehicles do you have?  How many of your staff can use them?

d) Do you have a lease? What kind of things does it limit you to?  Is it possible to have it altered for different purposes?

e) Who are your staff? Including yourself, what skills and experience do you have – both related to the current business and outside business.  Make a list.

f) Are there any other ‘things’ that you have ownership of?  Think in terms of recipes and  patents

2 Let’s examine our new world within which we must find our place

a)  List out the limitations we currently have (remembering they can change daily). This may include a push to non cash transactions and keeping limits on person to person contact.

b) Consider each limitation – is there a workaround for any of them for your business?

c) Examine how your client base needs have changed.

d) Has your client base itself changed? Is there a NEW client base you may be able to reach now?

e) Are you able to access new resources now?  (eg: more people out of work may mean you can more easily employ for roles normally hard to fill)

f) Can you see any trend in buying behaviour?

g) Are there completely NEW types of services or products you can supply now?

3. Mix it up.  This is the hardest part of all.  Examine everything you have written down now.  Throw out any assumptions you have about limitations (other than legal ones!) and play around with the elements you have written down.  What stands out now?  It may help to even cut up the elements and mix them around on a table – matching random pieces together to see if it triggers a concept or idea.  It may help to involve other people in this process and see if they can pick that innovative concept that springs from the elements you have in front of you.

If you need help with all the above please feel free to contact us!