Lead Change with a Visual Strategy Fair

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Here’s a technique I read about in Blue Ocean Strategy. The authors call it Drawing Your Strategy Canvas. They say that this strategy increased revenues for a financial services firm by 30 percent. It is a three-step process.

Step 1: Visual Awakening. In this step, they bring stakeholders together to create a visual value curve for the company. They found places where their own curve was pretty similar to their competitors. No way to distinguish themselves from the field.

Step 2: Visual Exploration. The company sent teams out to meet face-to-face with customers. As they say, “a company should never outsource its eyes.” This step overturned many of the things the insiders had identified in Step 1. Hmmm.

Step 3: Visual Strategy Fair. This meeting included people who worked for the company, as well as many customers and non-customers! Twelve teams were formed. Each had ten minutes to present a strategy. Presentations were kept short, “on the theory that any idea that takes more than ten minutes to communicate is probably too complicated to be any good.” Judges put sticky notes on their five favorites. The judges were asked to explain why they made these choices. The authors say that this fast process by-passed corporate politics that usually goes along with strategic planning.

This three-step process allowed the company to see itself in a new light, and develop new innovative strategies.

It seems like this process could be very helpful as part of many large change projects.

The book covers the Drawing Your Strategy Canvas process in much greater detail. (Blue Ocean Strategy. Kim and Mauborgne. Harvard Business School Press. 2005)