How might we...
increase the quality and resilience of our strategic decision making?

The CEO of Dermalogica saw an opportunity. He wanted innovation to permeate every department and needed a strategic plan to make it happen. He brought us on to help uncover each department’s strategic innovation agenda, measure subsequent efforts, and make decisions based on the results. 

So often plans that address innovation and the future are built around visioning and brainstorming, and neglect deep critical thinking and analysis. Drawing on design thinking, we set out to develop a plan, generate and prototype some ideas, and then test them to get real data to inform decision making.

How We Did It

Beyond the usual menu of design thinking workshop activities, we drew heavily on the concept of pretotyping. The goal is to quickly (in hours and days) and cheaply test possible solutions and validate them.

Say the HR department is focused on employee engagement and one possible solution is a livestream communication tool like Yammer. Rather than immediately choosing and investing in a livestreaming communication tool, how can we validate that this is the right approach? 

We started by coming up with a number of ways to simulate that function and test it in a short timeframe. The right idea to test would verify the key assumption in the quickest and cheapest possible way. But it would also have to simulate the real offering as closely as possible, to help us understand whether people would actually want to use the tool. 

Before testing, participants also had to define what success would look like. Perhaps it could be, if 10% of employees engage per day, the livestream communication tool is the right approach. Proceed with Yammer.

The results
A tested and validated plan.

Testing in this way allowed the participants to measure desirability — without fudging feasibility or viability. 

By the end of the workshop, each department had narrowed down their ideas and were ready to test them. The framework informed their testing plans: they now knew how to gather data to determine which ideas were worth pursuing.

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