Latest Topics

From ‘lean’ methods and ‘agile’ innovation to design thinking and customer development, a number of useful tools are emerging for startups and innovators. Design thinking is a human-centered approach towards problem solving and product generation which is driven by creativity, customer empathy and iterative learning.

Based on research, case studies and workshops conducted in this field, the following research suggested the 8 Is’ of design thinking for startups: intent, insights, immersion, interaction, ideation, integration, iteration and intensification.


Intent to launch a new product or service is driven by the awareness that something profound has changed, inspiration to do something new, or a hunch that the market needs a new kind of offering. This can be due to personal motivation, an external problem to solve, or a resolution to make some dream come true. This desire can create a vision and mission for a founder or a strategic conversation in a larger firm.


The next step consists of primary and secondary research to gather more intelligence about the domain, ecosystem and potential customers. Interviews with experts and trend reports from market research firms help set the broader context. Personal anecdotes and even notable travel experiences are useful here to frame and re-frame the issues. 


Inspired by ethnographic and anthropological research (customer/user journey mapping, etc), this step consists of suspending judgement and taking a ‘deep dive’ into the customer environment. Immersion can help discover blind spots and get past prior bias, and converts hunches into informed guesses. 


With specific objectives as well as empathy in mind, this step now consists of dialogue and interviews between the startup team and potential customers. The key aim is to test and validate assumptions about current and unarticulated user needs in a specific problem area.


Brainstorming sessions now commence about what approaches and products may work or how existing products can be modified, with divergence (accumulating a wide range of ideas, including wacky and crazy ones) and convergence (whittling the list down to more feasible options). Clustering techniques, storyboards, provocative ideation, role play, visualisation and creative documentation are useful techniques in this step. More interaction (previous step) may also be needed here to flesh out ideas in detail. Product components and features will be conceptualised in this stage, possibly with multiple versions.


Multi-disciplinary perspectives are now brought in at this stage, with inputs from development, design, marketing and competitive intelligence perspectives. These feed into the creation of a series of prototypes, demos, mock-ups or virtual renditions, to be tested in parallel with different user groups.


Ideas, assumptions and actual prototypes are now subject to systematic iterative testing. It may be necessary to recast the original intent and even gather more market insights at this stage; further immersion may again be needed to see why the use case scenario perhaps did not work out as anticipated. Failures or mistakes here should be cast more as assumptions which have been invalidated, and development paths or features can be ruled out. Feedback loops should be short, and pace of testing should be fast to weed out unwanted options. Experimentation can lead to pivots if major changes are needed, in which case the original intent may need to be modified.


Only at this stage are you ready for a full launch of the first minimum viable product or service, with subsequent marketing plans and customer support once the final product is ready. You will now some have clues for what the product roadmap may look like, what adjacent or new products can be planned in different scenarios, and how you can differentiate from and outpace the competition. But these too will need to go back into the loop of the ‘8 Is’ above.

Original Source: 

Madanmohan Rao is research director at YourStory Medi and editor of five book series ( His interests include creativity, innovation, knowledge management, and digital media. Madan is also a DJ and writer on world music and jazz. He can be followed on Twitter at @MadanRao

Useful resources for further engagement with the field include:



design-thinking, Latest Topics

How many times as a marketing professional or strategy consultant have you left a formal (or even an informal) meeting and doubted that anything was actually going to change or that made an impact? So many times, we gather key stakeholders and team members together to solve a critical issue that continues to arise nothing gets accomplished—it’s frustrating. Sadly, many approaches to solving business challenges are misaligned for various reasons—pick your poison. Innovative, business changing ideas can be challenging at times – that’s where a design thinking approach can quickly help address your most challenging business issues.

Design thinking is a proven and repeatable problem solving protocol that any business or profession can employ to achieve big results. Design thinking combines creative and critical thinking that allows information and ideas to be organized, decisions to be made, situations to be improved, and knowledge to be gained. It’s a mindset focused on solutions and not the problem.

A primary element of design thinking is simply thinking and ideating on a solution to address a problem or better meet a customer need. Establishing the proper amount of time for truly thinking through the work being done and measuring its merit as a viable solution to solve the challenge at hand is shockingly and overwhelmingly missed a lot of times. I’ve seen this at many organizations.  Surprisingly, it’s that “little thing” that is missed—something so obvious. It reminds me of the immense amount of sales professionals that surprisingly do not ask for a sale.

As humans become more assimilated into the processes that govern their company, the insurmountable inertia against positive change can be overwhelming. Collaboration drops; good work born from proper thinking decreases. The machine, more often than not, has every waking minute of the day consumed due to task overflow and improper organizational structures. This produces one thing—chaos of inefficiency void of new pathways. The proper time to move the needle through dedicated thinking is silently not allowed by the proverbial “machine” and this paves a direct path to failure. You’ll never hear this admitted by corporate leadership at most companies, but when it comes to true change it’s more talk than real practice. Did you know that Google formally allows 20% of their employees’ time to think? That says a lot about the value of thinking. How much are you allowing your team to perform real thinking on good solutions to solve the challenges?

Design thinking should be at the core of strategy development and organizational change in order to create a culture that’s focused on this way of solving problems. This way of thinking can be applied to products, services, and processes; anything that needs to be improved.
So how can you implement design thinking in your company? 

Learn How

Original Source: Lawton Ursrey

digital technology, digital strategy, digital business strategy


business strategy, Digital Strategy, Latest Topics

As boundaries between the physical and virtual worlds continue to blur, every business today needs to be working toward becoming a business that can thrive in a digital world – simply put, a digital business (in most cases).  An effective business strategy these days will leverage technology for almost all aspects of their business to create fundamentally a NEW BUSINESS model and a great end user experience. 

Becoming a digital business is not a one-time event, but a continuous process of digitalization, transformation and re-transformation of the business processes as well as applications used to implement them.

Embracing a content change of chaos in both the business and technology world, introduces a variety of significant risks to business disruption that needs to be effectively managed and accepting of change and the effects that change brings with it (internally and externally). Automation and artificial intelligence solutions along with proven implementation strategies can help not just manage this risk, but also accelerate business innovation (positive change) on an ongoing basis – when handled with “kid gloves.” 🙂

Transforming a business to be digitally friendly can be a complex task for businesses and business units (all together). Leveraging solutions to automate your business process, analytics, and establishing a center of excellence will help accelerate your transformation to becoming a digital-friendly business and provide your company a more significant competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Learn More

Original Source: CIO – Shoeb Javed


digital strategy, IoT, internet of things, business strategy


Latest Topics

Today, more and more business leaders are overwhelmed with the constant reminders of how “digital technology is disrupting” business (simply put). If you’re like most businesses, this continues to terrify how you’re going to take advantage of the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and always-on customer connectivity, knowing that other companies are using the same technologies.

Like most, you’ve been told all you need is some influential business advisors and a pack of hungry technology vendors and — voilà! — you have your digital strategy.

“It used to be “What’s your IT strategy?” Then it was “What’s your internet strategy?” Now it’s “What’s your digital strategy?”

Business leaders need to resist rushing into developing a strategic plan just because everyone else is doing it. This risk brings an enormous waste of time, money, and opportunity. You also risk creating mass confusion of your company’s real business strategy, true needs, and the right priorities necessary to become successful.

Instead, to survive and thrive in a global digital economy, business leaders should stop, take a deep breath, and think deeply about five questions around digital technology — which encompasses both new technology tools (like phones), platforms (like social media), and the use of the data that business can now collect using the web and other means — for their companies:

  1. Will digital technology change your business and where do you need to go?
  2. How could digital technology improve the way your company adds value to the business you are in?
  3. Will digital technology change your target customer (behavior toward your brand)?
  4. Does digital technology affect the value proposition to your target customer? If so, what will your value proposition need to communicate?
  5. How can digital technology enhance enterprise capabilities that differentiate you from your competition?

Avoid the trap by asking, “What is our digital strategy?” Instead, start with the five questions (listed above). While everyone else is talking about the global digital economy, your business will be focused and acting on how digital technology can bring a new edge to the business strategies you already have in place.

Original Source: Ken Favaro

internet of things, IoT, 2016, strategy,


Internet of Things (IoT), Latest Topics

The Internet of Things (IoT) will move toward mainstream adoption in 2016 for many industries, according to the findings of a recent survey by Gartner. Even though less than a third (29 percent) of responding organizations are currently using IoT, an additional 14 percent are planning to implement IoT in the coming 12 months, with an additional 21 percent planning to implement after 2016. In other words, the number of organizations adopting IoT will grow 50 percent in 2016, reaching 43 percent of organizations overall. In aggregate, the majority of organizations (64 percent) plan to eventually implement IoT.

However, it is also important to note that another 38 percent have no plans to implement IoT, including 9 percent that see no relevance whatsoever in the technologies.

“While there is near universal acceptance of the importance of the IoT, less than a third of organizations surveyed were actively exploiting it,” said Chet Geschickter, research director at Gartner, in a news release. “This is largely because of two reasons. The first set of hurdles are business-related. Many organizations have yet to establish a clear picture of what benefits the IoT can deliver, or have not yet invested the time to develop ideas for how to apply IoT to their business. The second set of hurdles are the organizations themselves. Many of the survey participants have insufficient expertise and staffing for IoT and lack clear leadership.”

Industry adoption also varies widely with heavy industries such as utilities, oil and gas, and manufacturing leading adoption, and service-oriented light or “weightless” industries lagging. Gartner estimates that slightly more than half (56 percent) of businesses in asset-intensive “heavy” industries will have implemented IoT by the end of 2016, and approximately one-third (36 percent) of “light” or “weightless” will do so.

For those organizations that have already implemented IoT, the focus has been on internal operational improvements over external customer-facing objectives. To date, the primary business case for IoT is internally focused, namely improved efficiencies, cost savings and enhanced asset utilization (52 percent of total) versus the externally facing IoT benefits of enhancing customer experience or increasing revenue (40 percent).

Read More

Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel


business strategy, Digital Strategy, Latest Topics

Whether it’s experimenting with leaner, flatter organizational structures in a drive to accelerate responses to shifting external factors; leveraging design thinking to solve every day problems as well as innovation challenges; or the impact Millennials are having on how organizations lead successfully, winning brands in 2016 will have a well-defined and communicated strategy, according to the Top Ten Strategy Execution Trends for 2016 recently released by TwentyEighty Strategy Execution.

This year’s trends fall under the theme of understanding and communicating the strategic picture. Importantly, these brands will also work to clear the path to successfully execute the work required to achieve it.

“Our Strategy Execution Trends for 2016 reflect how smart organizations are coping with the ever-increasing complex and ambiguous environment we all must operate within,” said Tim Wasserman, chief learning officer at TwentyEighty Strategy Execution and program director for Stanford Advanced Project Management Program, in a news release. “Achieving strategy seems to be just as important as ever, and yet too many organizations continue to commit the same mistakes. In many ways, this year’s trends urge leaders to step back and look beyond strategy to how they are connecting it to their workforces, constituents and the work that needs to be done to realize strategic success.”


  • Agile is Evolving Enterprise-Wide
  • Executives Recognize the Need for Experienced Project Managers
  • The State of Organization is Moving Toward Flat and Lean
  • Millennials are Changing Leadership
  • Interdependencies: Silo Walls are Growing Thinner
  • Design Thinking is Permeating Project Management and Beyond
  • Big Data Will Drive Complexity
  • Continuous Lack of Governance Hampered by Lack of Resources
  • Project Management Officers are Becoming Strategic Partners
  • Business Analysis in Being Elevated

Learn More