Any solution we devise has both intended and unintended consequences. We tend to focus on ‘can we’ do something rather than ‘should we.’ Impact cascades get us thinking about all of the possible impacts of an idea, helping us answer the ‘should we’ question. We’ve been working with a global quick service restaurant chain to help them digitize their supply chain — a process that will affect tens of thousands of restaurants, suppliers, and distributors. As we were developing the project’s roadmap, we used impact cascades to get senior leaders thinking about the big picture: what will this do to the supply chain? Who will be impacted and how will it impact them? We have to zoom out far enough to see the complete interlocking, interdependent system. If x happens, it doesn’t just have y impact — y may in turn affect z, and so on. Looking at a huge project in this way gave the strategic team the key insights they needed to shape the roadmap for a project that will take years to complete. 

The results

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