How to Be an Innovator, Part 24: Prepare to Plan
Last week in our How to Be an Innovator series, we discussed identifying real needs and choosing the right problem/opportunities for your organization. This week we’ll go a step further and delve a little bit into the strategic planning process.
Part 24: Prepare to Plan
At first glance, the whole idea of strategic planning seems counterintuitive to the creative process. And maybe the actual planning part of it is – or can be. But preparing to plan is like preparing a creative brief. The process gives you the tools you need to create a framework by identifying the problem you are trying to solve, the key players involved, and the end goal. Then you can begin the creative part of the problem solving process through brainstorming and developing solutions to the problem, implementing them, testing them for effectiveness, and revising them.
Preparing to plan means getting an accurate picture of where you’re at, measuring gaps in results, and choosing the problems that need to be solved. Here are a few steps to get you started:
- Identify the new realities of your business. The crazy economy has meant changes for everybody, no matter what industry you are in. What does this mean for where you are at right now? What does it mean for your future?
- Identify the members of your team and the stakeholders who are most involved in your organization’s future. If change is needed, are they on board with you? What is the best way for you to work together to craft effective solutions?
- Measure gaps in results. In my business, the three main areas I measure are customer satisfaction, campaign effectiveness, and turn around times. Gaps in results in any of these three areas directly affect the future of my business, and resolving them will always be top priority.
- Identify priority needs. We talked about this some last week. What needs directly affect your future? What needs can you afford to ignore, and which can you not?
Next week we’ll go over the actual planning process. As technical as it all may seem sometimes, problem solving is just creativity at its best. Can’t wait to share with you!