Having the right tools often makes the difference between success and missed opportunity. An equally important factor that gets much less shine however is the use of the right tool at the right time. Even within an arsenal of ‘good’ or even ‘great’ tools, one must understand the tools well enough to pick and choose which is most relevant when.
This principle holds true for much of Strategyzer’s methodology. This is especially so when it comes to two of our tools - the Questions for Leaders and the Project Scorecard. In this blogpost, we will discuss both tools, help you to understand exactly how to best leverage them, and enable you to select the right tool depending on the task.
The Questions for Leaders are a set of questions that we pose to leaders and entrepreneurs to help them uncover exactly how ‘invincible’ their business is. On a scale of -3 to +3, we ask questions like “Do we own key resources that are difficult or impossible to copy and which give us a significant competitive advantage?” On the scale, a -3 is “Our key resources are significantly inferior to those of our competitors” and a +3 is “Our key resources can’t easily be copied or emulated for the next couple of years and they give us a significant competitive advantage (e.g., intellectual property, brand, etc.).”
These questions enable leaders to identify their company’s real strengths and weaknesses, and help highlight areas of opportunity. This assessment is best used at the beginning of an innovation process, to determine which Business Model building block your business should invest in to become more invincible. You might learn that your resources are easier to copy by your competition than you had assumed, and hence decide to invest in R&D. Whatever the case may be, this tool helps quantify your competitive advantage - or lack thereof - making investment decisions a lot clearer.
Tangentially, the Project Scorecard is used to assess the Strategic Fit, Opportunity and Risk Reduction of an innovation project following a round of testing. Based on the evidence collected during that round of testing, this assessment quantifies the strength of evidence and fit of the innovation project within the broader organization. When assessing the strength of evidence collected for the Customer Segment for instance, the Project Scorecard uses a 0 (no evidence) to +5 (irrefutable evidence from market) scale for the guiding statement “Our critical customer segments have the jobs, pains, and gains relevant for selling our value proposition.”
This enables project leaders to see where they might need to collect more evidence, but also enables leadership to assess and compare different projects. It can be quite difficult to compare innovation projects which have completely different value propositions, and leaders often differ to using simplistic profit forecasts to make their decisions. By quantifying fit, opportunity size, and strength of evidence, leaders can make much more accurate decisions when deciding which project to shelf and which to invest in further.
Both tools are indeed designed for assessment by leadership. That being said, the contexts they are designed for are quite different. While the Questions for Leaders should be used at the beginning of an innovation journey, as a trigger questions to better understand where improvements are needed, the Project Scorecard should be used after a round of testing, to help in comparing different innovation projects.
While one could theoretically swap the contexts and still learn some valuable information about their business or innovation projects, the finer - and potentially most relevant - elements of the tools would be lost. Whereas the Questions for Leaders focuses on competition and market, the Innovation Scorecard focuses on de-risking and project fit within the broader business - all four items are essential to a business, but are relevant at different stages.
Using good tools is incredibly important. But using the right tool at the right time is just as essential. We wouldn’t want our knee and heart surgeons swapping tools, it’s the same in innovation!
Download our Assessment Question for Leaders to learn more about where the strengths and weaknesses of your business really lie, and to find areas of opportunity.
Download our Innovation Project ScoreCard to correctly assess your innovation projects, and to quantify how much your teams have de-risked their ideas with testing.