Taking a powerful, purposeful, and predictable approach to Innovation

Focus on One Thing

An excerpt from my workshop

You may  know  the tool "The Five Whys" from  Six  Sigma ,  it's  just  as  applicable  in  this  environment  for  all  of  the  same  reasons.  It's just  as  powerful  in  this  space.  So,  once  we  identify  that,  we  want  to  go  from  the  flair  of  as  many  different  perspectives,  as  much   information  as  we  can to  focus  in  on  what's  the  "one  thing".    And  we  really  want  to  get  it  down  to  one  thing.  


What's  the  one  thing  that  we  really  want  to  address  in  this?  Have you ever had the privilege to work with or for the consulting firm McKinsey & Company?    Or  maybe  you've  read "The  McKinsey  Mind"  or  "The  McKinsey  Way"?    If  so,  then  you  already  know  about  how  powerful  a  hypothesis  can  be,  and  what  that  enables  you  to  do.  


When  you  create  a  hypothesis,  you  have  gone  through  the  information and you've  thought  it  through.  You've  identified  what  you  think  is  the  issue,  and  what  you  think  might  be  a  way  to  address  that.  Then  you  can  begin  to  evaluate  the  assumptions  that  you've  baked  into  that  hypothesis.  Then it is time to consider how  to  test  that  hypothesis.   The  more  quickly  you  test  and  either  prove  or  disprove  (probably  disprove)  your  original  hypothesis  the better.   Then  you  can  do  an  even  better  job  of  focusing  in  on  the  one  thing  that  you  want  to  address.  And  you  might,  in  that  hypothesis,  even  be  able  to  identify  or  at  least  begin  to  align  yourself  with  what  are  the  levers  that  we're  going  to  pull  or  that  we  can  pull  with  this  hypothesis.  What  are  the  buttons  that  we  can  push?   What  are  the  outcomes  that  we  can  expect?    


Then  once  you have  identified  that you  have  your  focal  point.  If  you  think  about  it  from  a  photography  perspective,  as  you  move  closer  or  further  away  from  your  topic,  the  focal  point  changes.  That's  what  framing  does .  In  terms  of  framing,  we  also  then  make  sure  that  we're  focused  on  the  things  that  are  really  important  to  us.  We  really  want  to  focus  our  attention  on  just  one  thing,  whatever  is  the  most  interesting,  or  most  pertinent,  or  most  powerful  of  the  issues  we  uncovered  as  we  were  falling  in  love  with  our  problem.  

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 This is a portion of the Appendix from "Standing On Shoulders: A Leader's Guide to Digital Transformation".


It is taken directly from a workshop I do on design thinking.   It is lightweight enough to use for team retrospectives, and still powerful enough to use for product, service, or process development.