There are some things that are so obvious that everyone knows them. These are the things that people talk about on busses, trains and in cafes. Nobody questions them because they are common sense. Everybody is certain that these “truths” are correct.
The trouble is that people can be wrong.
The “truths” on which people form their strongly held views might be out of date, inaccurate or no longer applicable. The same thing happens in organisations and projects. How many times have you heard someone say “that would just never work here”
Innovation may require the challenging or re-writing of “truths”
Innovation often requires a paradigm shift. It might be uncomfortable, but also necessary for a project to question or even reverse “truths” that have been in place for years.
As Business Analysts, we have a real opportunity to challenge these truths using open questions. Here are a few of my favourites (!):
1. “Are you certain that is true – has it been proved? Or is it an assumption?”
2. “Can you tell me why this solution wouldn’t be appropriate?”
3. “What would have to change for this to work?”
4. “If we were designing this [widget] from scratch, how would it look?”
5. “If we were forming a brand new company, how would we approach this?”
6. “How do our competitors approach this?”
7. “If we were in an ideal world, with no constraints, how would we approach this?”
Ultimately, innovation needs “buy in” from all levels of the organisation. Robust Business Analysis will help organisations to make sure that they challenge the norm and pick the winning projects. However an excellent communication & engagement plan will be needed to ensure that people are on board.
Innovative projects aren’t easy, but they are necessary to survive.