Growth CEO’s differ from those who merely station—keep their way into the status quo, protecting the enterprise by reducing risk and cost, without creating a vision and action plan for growth.

Here is a way to test yourself with a tool useful for any leader seeking to create positive change. Authors Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Oglivie have created a framework for creation of a new product or service – one worth spending at least a cycle of time for review. From their book, “Designing for Growth,” they iterate a four question matrix, each with steps for creation through launch. We’ll use this loosely to frame our process.

What is? What is the problem, the marketplace, the value added? What is the urgent need, the reason people will pay, the positive effect upon the enterprise by making this happen?

What if? What if we could do it better, do it in a new way, do it to attract new customers, do it to distance ourselves form the competition?

What wows? Can we rapid prototype this idea into a product and try it out on potential customers? Would it wow them to action or anticipation? Are we missing something those customers think they need, or want so badly they will wait and later pay? Then let’s design it so it will wow.

What works? Do we need to co–create this with a “teacher–customer?” Can we launch this with a limited audience to see if it works as expected? And if the response is less than we expected, what can we do differently? Should we start the “what” cycle again to refine the concept?

There is a word for the initiation of this process, used successfully by the best CEOs and the best companies: “ideation.” The word encompasses the entire design process from conception to prototype and sometimes beyond.

The Stanford Design School teaches ideation as a five step process, fitting nicely into the four questions above.

Empathize – learn about the audience for whom you are designing. Define – construct a point of view based upon the user’s needs and insights. Ideate – brainstorm creative solutions. Prototype – build a representation of one or more of the ideas to show to others. And test – return to your original user group for feedback. Two ways to think like a CEO. And easy to instigate.

You’ve just got to remember to discipline yourself to follow the process. The rewards will surely follow.

SOURCEBerkonomics
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Dave Berkus
Dave Berkus is a noted speaker, author and early stage private equity investor. He is acknowledged as one of the most active angel investors in the country, having made and actively participated in over 87 technology investments during the past decade. He currently manages two angel VC funds (Berkus Technology Ventures, LLC and Kodiak Ventures, L.P.) Dave is past Chairman of the Tech Coast Angels, one of the largest angel networks in the United States. Dave is author of “Basic Berkonomics,” “Berkonomics,” “Advanced Berkonomics,” “Extending the Runway,” and the Small Business Success Collection. Find out more at Berkus.com or contact Dave at dberkus@berkus.com

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