Key Questions.

Some of the practical questions that we work on.

Our methodology can be applied to multiple industries, areas and problems. The governing idea is for an improvement in decision-making and problem-solving, and it provides the practical tools for this. Each of the bespoke frameworks are then designed to work with an area of focus, as determined before we begin.

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Key Takeaways.


  • Areas of focus are the particular things that we want to apply Thinking Sideways to.

  • Focused problems are issues that have been identified.

  • Unforeseen problems are issues that may turn up during discovery.


  • Abstract directions are when we want to concentrate purely on change, and new ideas.

  • Focused directions are when we have identified a route/problem and are attempting to get to a meaningful outcome.

 
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There is no right or wrong way.

The world is quite dull when we approach it like that.

 

How do we maintain and increase our relevance in an ever-changing landscape?

This may sound a touch melodramatic, but it’s a question that keeps people awake at night. We find great discomfort in uncertainty, especially in business. 

Uncertainty in the global economy, uncertainty in how new regulations will affect business, uncertainty about what competitors are doing, and uncertainty about how new technology will affect the business. 

This leads to a short-term focus and a reactive approach as you struggle to deal with a fast paced environment. The sensible model is to create a foundation that allows you to reduce uncertainty.

Suggested Areas of Focus:

  • Future models that explore the next 5 years and how the company evolves.

  • Customer needs, and how we can anticipate new, unknown needs.

  • Industry analysis, overlaps with other industries and finding new industries.


How can we increase and/or find  alternative streams of revenue. 

To look beyond the core streams of revenue can sometimes be viewed as treasonous, but a lack of vision in this area can lead to a gradual decline. Think of Kodak, Nokia and Blackberry.

Continuously evaluating your current services and products allows for different ideas to come to the fore in how they are being best used. We can then also start to examine the market for complimentary products that can be integrated, or services that can be stand on their own to bring long-term value.

Suggested Areas of Focus:

  • First principles approach to existing products/services, where we break them down into their basic components to see how they can be improved.

  • Examine customer behavior to identify needs that aren’t being addressed.

  • Invert industries to see how their services would work in our area of business.


How do we create an environment that encourages our team to contribute.

Good Thinking, Good Products, is the slogan in all Toyota factories around the globe. It’s from the Toyota Creative Ideas and Suggestions System, created in 1951, which encourages all employees to suggest improvements at work. 

One of the central themes of thinking sideways is the focus on everyone, it’s one of the best ways to begin developing an internal, learning and contributing culture. This is a very popular use for the methodology.


Suggested Areas of Focus:

  • Development and implementation of an internal ideas system. 

  • Staff accelerator programs, that help find and shape quality idea suggestions.

  • Increase teams ability to make efficient independent decisions.