How you look at a challenge or opportunity sets the conditions for novel solutions.  Many people too narrowly frame a challenge or opportunity, holding it hostage to incrementalism.  Do you look at the problem from various levels of specificity?  Do you consider other vantage points on the problem other than your own or the consumer?  Just stretching how you consider and articulate a problem can open it up for discovery and breakthrough.

Solving The Issue At The Right Level

Situation: The complex skin care category confused consumers and they often went home with the wrong product which led to dissatisfaction.  The business framed this originally as a “fix the shelf” challenge.

Mind Opening Empathy:  The shelf was out of the brand’s control in the near term so action-ability was limited.  With exploration they redefined the issue as a “woman empowerment/confidence” opportunity.  She did not feel confident at shelf, but in the store might not be the best place to  fix the issue.  How might we empower her to walk into the store with confidence of what she needed?

Result: The brand prototyped and innovated an online interaction to get her to the right skin care “prescription” complete with a picture of the product package with a click to buy option.  The program was leveraged globally and led to improved business results and consumer satisfaction.

Functional Redesign of Organizational Structure

Situation: Finance function in a large corporation needed to increase the productivity of the organization.

Mind Opening Empathy:  “Employees felt stuck double checking and ensuring compliance with Sarbanes Oxley. There was too much redundancy in tasks. The real opportunity was to better balance and manage the separate tasks of risk management and compliance and to drive more single point accountability.  This would also improve employee morale, as they were feeling their work did not matter, since it was so redundant, which was an additional hit to productivity.

Result:  A simpler, smaller organizational structure was put into place. Employee morale and productivity show positive signs.

Frame visual

Empathize visual

Integrate visual

Ignite visual


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