Focused Improvement - a design thinking approach to improving products, services, processes

An Overview

A workshop in 4 parts

It  used  to  be  that  we  would  say  you  can  have  it  faster,  better  or  cheaper;  pick  any  two.  

But  that's  not  really  an  option  going  forward.  We  need  to  do  faster,  and  better,  and  cheaper  in  order  for  us  as  an  organization  to  reach  our  goals.  

Innovation  is  one  of  those  things  that  sometimes  feels  very  elusive.  It͛s  not  about  some  sort  of  a  thunderclap  or  a  lightning  bolt  in  the  middle  of  the  night.   When  you  sit  up,  bolt  upright,  and  say  "Eureka,  I  know  what  we need  to  do".  (Not even in the corniest of movies!)  Sometimes  that  might  happen something like that,  but  that's  not  what  we're  going  after.   It's not repeatable or scalable.

What  we  can  do  is  use  a  purposeful  approach  that  will  put  us  in  the  right  place.  That  will  set  us  up  with  the  right  tools  and  enable  us  to  methodically,  clearly  and  directly  come  up  with  innovations  that  will  be  of  benefit  to  us.   Either  because  we  really  have  moved  the  ball  forward,  or  we  might  be  like  Thomas  Edison  who  said  "I have not  failed.  I  have  merely  found  10,000  ways  to  not  create  a  light  bulb."  That's  what  we  want  to  do.  It  also  can  be  a  very  fun  approach.  I  know  that  sounds  funny,  fun  at  work,  but  let's  dig  into  it.    

Our approach  is  a  classic  Flair  and  Focus,  which  means  that  in  our  Flair  steps  we'll  drive  for  maximum  volume  of  ideas  and  will  not  do  any  evaluation  or  editing  of  suggestions.   More  is  better,  quality  or  feasibility  will  not  even  be  considered.    In  fact,  we͛re  going  to  encourage  silly,  flippant,  and  crazy  ideas.    

 Then  we'll move  into  a  focus  mode,  where  we͛ll  identify  the  one  component,  aspect,  or  portion  of  our  topic  and  will  frame that  as  the  focal  point  that  we'll  focus  on.

We'll  flair  again  as  we  brainstorm about  all  of  the  things  that  *could*  move  the  needle on  the  issue  we want to  tackle.   In  fact,  I suggest we  want  to  include  things  that  move  the  needle  the  wrong  way,  to  make  sure  we are  actually  pushing  the  right  button  or  pulling  the  right  lever.   

Then  in  the  fourth  and  last  step,  we͛ll  once  again  Focus  on  the  approach  that  we͛re  going  to  take.   We  like  to  call  it  ͞"running the  experiment͟."  We  think  it  will  work.   We  have  a  hypothesis  of  the  problem  and  a proposed solution.  So let's  test  that  to  confirm  the  result.  

Now, let's get started!

Learn More

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.

Standing On Shoulders