July 31st, 2020 by Catherine Cheng
“Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth” — Mike Tyson
COVID-19 was the punch in the mouth to many of our best intended strategic growth plans. This created new demand for approaches to planning that incorporate agility and resourcefulness.
The traditional process of strategic planning involves growing existing revenue streams and scaling what already works in your business. But the uncertainty of COVID-19 demands innovation planning, which, according to Innovation Zen, “creates new business models, is centered on the market and aims to find new ways of value creation”.
Strategic planning and innovation planning are different because strategic planning works within your existing business model, while innovation planning unlocks new potential and is significantly more agile.
We know that any type of planning amidst uncertainty can be daunting, but innovation planning really thrives in this context. We have some easy ways to help you get started and make the process enjoyable and productive.
Adopt an innovation mindset. Unlocking a creative innovation mindset requires embracing the potential to be wrong, becoming comfortable with ambiguity, and remaining consistent in your efforts. This mindset is imperative to innovation planning because it ensures that you will respond dynamically to the inevitable stumbling blocks and developments that will complicate your planning.
Try the business model canvas. The business model canvas is a great innovation tool because of its adaptability and simplicity. Treating it like a vision board for your planning helps you think flexibly about your business. It’s also an adaptable tool because that you can fit to your own needs. If the BMC is too daunting, you can start with Kanban.
Use the Lists and Choices method.This very simple approach to planning involves making lists by thinking exhaustively, then editing those lists by making choices. Although it may seem intuitive, it can be incredibly powerful as it encourages us to segment our mindset – first to really think creatively without judgement when we brainstorm, then to be deliberate when we evaluate.
Establish decision making boundaries. To make your planning sessions productive, determine ahead of time how final decisions will be made. Will it be democratic through dot voting? Or will there be one final decision maker?
There are numerous ways to approach innovation planning, ranging from changing your mindset to experimenting with new tools. Pick a few of the tips to try and test them out. We’re curious to hear how it goes.
Want to learn more about innovative strategic planning? Check out our CEO Zach Braiker and COO Purnima Thakre’s LinkedIn Live event for more best practices and simple tips.