Having new ideas is easy, but having clear ideas is not!
It started with a book. Writing my new book Startup, Scaleup, Screwup resulted in several new insights, the most important being the 10 maturity stages of the Business Lifecycle, the strict separation of these ten stages from the seven streams of the Innovation Vortex, and the combination of the lifecycle and the vortex in the risk management strategy behind the Innovation Funnel. I thought all of this was worth turning into a new workshop, and so I did. I called it Shiftup. Having this new idea was easy.
But then what?
What is the new Shiftup workshop supposed to achieve? Who is the target audience? How is it different from my earlier work on Management 3.0 and Agility Scales? What problem am I solving? What is the unique value proposition? And where do I want to go with this new brand? All of that requires clarity in my head. But having clear ideas is hard!
Having new ideas is easy, but having clear ideas is hard!
One thing was evident from the start, though. Shiftup should be a content brand, not a technology brand. For the last three years, I dipped my toes in the technology startup space (hurting my toes badly in the process), and I’m still working on rebooting Agility Scales. With the new brand, content needs to come first. (When I have new content that works with Shiftup, it might be a lot easier to see where new technology fits in with that other venture.)
Fortunately, since I started in January 2019, through the many conversations with workshop participants, three critical needs of people have become clear to me:
Employees and teams want their work to be more fun, more enjoyable, and more engaging. Yes, talking about lifecycle stages is important, but doing the Business Lifecycle Game or Business Model Maturity Test is more engaging. Games, tools, and exercises are near the top of people’s list when it comes to continuous improvement and organizational change. Gamification was already a recurring theme in my work. With Mind Settlers, I tried it from a technology angle. With Shiftup, it’s worth trying from a content angle.
Second, I lost count of the number of times people have complimented me for my ability to reuse and build upon the great work of others. I am often appreciated for an inclusive rather than a divisive approach to other methods and frameworks, and for my talent at connecting the dots between many tools and models. Coaches and consultants, in particular, have a hard time keeping up with all that is happening in the Lean-Agile and innovation communities. With a bit of work, Shiftup could become a new map and a unique starting point for everyone.
Last but not least, I have noticed a lot of resentment around the world against failed lean-agile transformations. From what I hear, the “Agile” brand seems to be severely scarred. Personally, I believe that being Lean or Agile is never a goal in itself. The purpose of an organization (and its executives and managers) is to survive and thrive through continuous innovation. I found some fantastic ideas on how to achieve this and how to scale it. Who cares if we call that Lean, Agile, or Nimble-With-Your-Network?
I have summarized these three needs in the following description of what I want Shiftup to stand for:
Shiftup offers a growing collection of interconnected games and exercises and curated news and content that connects the dots between many models and tools to help organizations achieve continuous innovation at scale.
Let’s call it the current draft of my Product Vision. The idea is now less new than it was earlier this year, but it is certainly more clear to me.
What? You’ve never heard of creating product visions? Why don’t you pick up a copy of my book Startup, Scaleup, Screwup. The Product Vision practice is described in the very first chapter!