Archives par mot-clé : project

Creative Problem Solving (CPS) helps you innovate

CPSI have used Creative Problem Solving techniques for more than 10 years now and facilitated more than 100 workshops using this method or one derived from it.  CSP is at one hand one of the most useful techniques to innovate, both for established companies and for start-ups.

CPS: a simple process to be creative

CPS is a simple but key process critical to any innovation process. yes, creativity and problem solving is a process and can impact strongly your innovative initiative.

From a couple of years now I have developed my own approach to CPS and workshop facilitation. My version of CPS takes the best of Design Thinking, Lean 6 sigma and creativity tools to travel from the problem identification to launching the project that will at the end solve it.

The necessary missing step of CSP

If the steps I used towards CPS are more or less the ones defined at Buffalo college in the 1950’s I strongly recommend to go as far as possible to the implementation phase.

My point is that often CSP workshops end with a lot of so-called « idea-sheets » or « action plan » to be implemented. That’s not enough if you want to deliver and innovate to create customer value. At this point my « Project Manager dark side of the force » takes the lead and drive it along the « Initiating Project Process ». It is a key factor of success to have, ready to sign for the sponsor, a project charter to launch the first activities necessary to evaluate and implement the solution to the CSP topic.

The definitive CSP steps

  1. Clarify the problem: Identify and converge on what your group understand from the topic
  2. Explore the problem: Define clearly the topic
  3. Analyse the problem: Analyse all the parameters and dimensions of your topic. Be sure to have everything in mind all the specifications of our topic
  4. Ideate: generate ideas, cross-fertilize them…
  5. Challenge the ideas: evaluate all ideas and transform them into concepts (a more advanced state) and explore all positive and negative aspects of the possible implementation
  6. Implement the ideas (initiate the projects): prepare the project, define the ready-to-launch actions incl. project charter, preliminary WBS and stakeholder map.

If you want some more information, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send us a mail

My secret recipe for Innovation

recipeI have a secret recipe for Innovation. And i am gone to share it with you. It doesn’t mean that applying this you will innovate for sure and succeed each time. No. This is actually the way I propose to run n innovation process in order to maximize the chance of a success. But what is success in that case? Creating value, for your customer and for you.

A two dimension approach

Most of the time people think that innovation is inventing something. That’s not true, or at least partially. Inventing is one part of innovation. Selling it is the other part. So to innovate wisely one has to ensure both the technical and business side of its project.
Make a little stop here. Just think and try to remember things that was technically perfect, cutting-edge technologies but never sold. Found some. Mee too. The other way round? More difficult because no one is used to look at the business model but I am sure you can find some
So to innovate you have to have something that is innovating on the technical and business sides. Let’s have a look at each of them.

Innovate « technically »

I should have chosen another word but couldn’t (if you have proposition please let a comment). What do I mean when I say « Innovate technically ». Don’t misunderstand me. Do we have to have something brand new to innovate on the technical side? NO. Talking about the technical side, I mean proposing a new solution which could have been invented years before but never applied on our area of innovation. But wait… « a new solution » to what? YESSSS here we are. A solution needs a problem. So to innovate wisely you need to solve a problem. And to solve it in a way that never has been before. To my point of view it means that clients should be at the centre of your consideration. What is their real problem? How can you solve it in a way they value your work? One of the best methodology I have seen in action so far to address those questions is Design Thinking and ServiceDesign.

DesignThinking

Design Thinking will help to identify customer needs, values and environment to define a clear vision of their problems to solve in order to come up with good ideas that you will prototype and test. So I would say that in the early stage of your Innovation Process, you should consider Design Thinking and its tools.

Speed is Gold

Once that done, speed is key. You have to iterate as fast as possible collecting the maximum insights and feedback from users and customers to modify your products (your value proposition). At that point of an Innovation project (service or product), the Lean Start-up seems to me the best method to accelerate your development. Lean Start-up allows you to learn on what your customer value and how you can bring this value to them.

Lean Start-up Cycle
Lean Start-up Cycle

We will see later how to implement it with the Design Thinking Approach.
Lean Start-up approach will allow our project to deliver faster and be sure that our value proposition is understood and appreciated by out customers. Moreover it will give us some good insights about what they value in our offer.

Business model innovation

As lean start-up and Design thinking are methodologies that gives us good insights and feedback about what is the good solution for a given problem to solve and what the future customers value in our value proposition, business models can still be very different. Innovating in Business model is also a good way to innovate.
Let’s have a step back. Old products, innovative business models. Some example to share? I am sure YES. Best is new product, innovative business model. Example? Again I am sure you found some. (if not, let me a comment I will give you some example I have in mind). Regarding Business Model Innovation my favour goes to… Business Model Canva and Value Proposition Design of course. thanks to those tools you can define, represent and iterate quickly on Business Model and chose the one that will create the most value. It is really rocket tools that works well (I have really good experience applying those 2).

FR_Business-Model-Canvas

Innovating in Business Model is the most powerful way to disrupt and create higher value for both clients and your organization.

The secret recipe…

How to mix all those nice tools and methodologies in order to maximize the chance to have at the end an innovative product or service?

That’s the secret. A good mix of those methods incl. other tools (JTBD…) lead to maximize the chance of delivering a good service/product, suited to clients needs and that they value enough to buy at a fair price.

 

Turn your strategy into a sucess: Project Portfolio Management!

 

 

 

 

 

Having your projects serving your strategy and allowing you to reach the global objectives  is a basis for every company. However, we often see corporates which are struggling with unnecessary projects burning cash or not aligned projects consuming resources. this aims to a paradox: One doesn’t have enough money nor workforces to perform the really important projects within the organization.

Selecting the right projects to be done, arbitrating among them regarding to the available resources, budget and so with only one goal, serving the strategy and delivering what needed to succeed, that’s the goal of portfolio management.

Portfolio management has only one goal: ensuring the most out of the available resources with respect to the given strategy. It means identify and promote the most relevant projects, allow the resources, consolidate the forecast, and improve performance while managing the global risk of the portfolio. In that sense, PPM is a key task to be performed within an organization.

I am managing portfolios (mostly of innovative projects but also from operational projects) for more than 5 years now. I have changed portfolios one time and thus have been able to learn a lot about how to apply the good methods to achieve the best performance.

Running a portfolio is not an easy task and is a true management action. Arbitration, killing projects, re-allowing resources are the main task one perform each day.

Running a projects portfolio is the only way to insure that your strategy will be effectively applied by focusing on the awaited results with respect to this high level demand.

But is your company using PPM wisely?I found this infography on  I think it orth the reading.

Wrike.com

Are Companies Using Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Effectively? (#Infographic)

Leadership is key for your project

We all want to be the project manager of a successful project. To manage that goal you have to build an organisation within your project team that enables creativity and innovation, drives results and deliveries and always look to be better.

To do so one should focus on 6 leadership tasks.

  1. Share your vision of the project
  2. Build a common agreement on objectives
  3. Ensure continuous improvement
  4. encourage connections and collaborations
  5. Focus on results
  6. Reward performance.

If you manage to implement all that 6 tasks, you will be able to put the project on the good rails.