Strategic thinking is a creative endeavor. When you need to shift from your routine work into strategic-thinking mode to solve a business problem, identify potential product improvements, or imagine how to best serve your clients, consider these techniques:
- Apply lessons from other industries: Who else (regardless of industry/product/etc.) has had this problem and how did they deal with it?
- Remove limitations: If things were perfect, how would we solve the problem?
- Observe actual customer behavior: What ad hoc modifications are customers making to our product?
- Imagine perfection: If we could remove a specific barrier from our product, which audiences would become major users?
- Remove costs/attributes from your product/service: If we removed 25% of the hard or soft costs from our product, could we still meet the needs of our customers?
When you untether your thinking and consciously shift away from the constraints you normally place on your problem-solving, you increase your ability to identify unique solutions. If you’re brainstorming with others, make sure you remind them that there are no bad ideas.
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