Crisis management gets a bad rap. The phrase conjures up pictures of your management team running around in chaos mode putting out fires, stuck in place, instead of casting a vision, developing a strategic plan and executing to win with a proven process. Crisis management is something every seasoned, successful management team seeks to avoid.

Except today you can’t. The combination of COVID-19 and global political and economic turmoil has created a crisis environment that every business owner, entrepreneur and executive team has to manage in and through. Crisis management is a skillset your team must acquire.

Innovation is the answer. Innovation, finding that new method, product, idea, that opens up new doors and opportunities in a time of turmoil, is your crisis protection plan. Innovation is not an activity. Innovation is a mindset.

It’s a mindset that is willing to look at every component of your business with a new perspective. It’s a mindset that questions everything, especially the tried and true. When innovation works it’s a little scary on its own. Even more so now with all the other upheavals your team is dealing with. At the same time, embracing innovation also got easier because we all know that what we are used to doing won’t work today as it has in the past.

The Octain Growth approach to the innovation mindset with clients is three-fold: identify strengths, develop a mind map and create a blueprint for implementation.

A mature software company was trapped in an aging market space with little growth potential. Several new products were suggested, none was innovative. They were all safe bets. We worked with executive team using our product fuel template and the innovation questions in our mind map to identify the best ROI-based options. With stakeholder agreement, the choice was narrowed to one—launch an upgrade in new market space which opened a new geographic market, changed the company’s competitive position and drove new sales growth of 24% in first the 12 months following the launch.

Assessing your strengths

Ready to innovate? Here’s the first step: A quick checklist for assessing the competitive and market strengths of your product or services. Consider how you can use these strengths to innovate better in the remote worker economy.

Map your possibilities

It’s time to blue sky how you might rethink, reinvent and innovate your products and services for the remote economy. The mind map of What’s Next is the secret sauce. Here’s mine to get you started. This mind map was created in Whimsical.

Note the four categories:

·     Improve – How can you make your product/service easier to use, more affordable or faster to get customer results?

·     Extend – How can you expand your product/service capabilities or customer reach?

·     Reinvent – How can your product/service solve a related problem or serve another customer group?

·     Innovate – What can you do to push the boundaries of your current product/service focus and limitations? What’s the one crazy thing you can do (may seem impossible today) to better serve your market and customers?  

Each of these categories requires a new perspective and a willingness to step beyond your current activity. Which one are you willing to step into today?

It’s critical to get all company stakeholders from executive management to customer service involved in the creation on your corporate mind map. Capture all ideas first without debate and then prioritize your wish list according to time, talent and resources available.

Blueprint the implementation

Once your mind map is complete, you’ll need to create a blueprint that takes you from the ideation to the actualization of your goals.

Octain has a proven process for delivering results from innovation especially in today’s remote economy and the global turmoil we are enduring. We’d love to chat with you now.

For more on how your company can Make Remote Work, download the ebook.