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Strategic Thinking Questions: 14 Innovation Starters for 2014

Strategic Thinking Questions: 14 Innovation Starters for 2014
By Mike Brown

I saved the October 2013 issue of Fast Company, its 10th annual innovation by design issue, from the recycle bin when my wife was de-cluttering for me. To justify saving the innovation by design issue from recycling oblivion, I combed through the brand profile articles in the innovation by design section to identify these fourteen strategic thinking questions as innovation starters for 2014.



You can use these strategic thinking questions as inspiration for taking advantage of innovation and change, addressing change challenges, and shoring up your brand’s customer experience.

Creating Innovation and Change

  • -After you’ve identified the absolutely essential elements of your brand, how can you start changing all the other elements right away?
  • -What might be the place or way you start every new initiative so it is solidly grounded in your brand?
  • -How can you more aggressively prototype the huge change you need to start making right away?
  • -What can you change that, if it didn’t work, could be completely restored to how it was before?
  • -How about expecting everyone in your organization to create something new and improved every day?
Addressing Change Challenges


  • -Who in your organization is obsessed with problem solving, and what are you doing to keep them busy solving problems for clients?
  • -If you’re trying to inject new thinking into an old organization, what is the senior leader in charge of innovation doing to morph corporate oldsters into new thinkers?
  • -What ways can you track things people originally hated about the new big change that they now love, so you can use it to sell-in the next big change?
  • -How can you deliberately move the “How do we build it?” question until later in the innovation process?
Improving a Brand’s Customer Experience


  • -What are the two next-most detailed questions you can explore about your brand’s customer experience?
  • -How are you determining the “ooh and ahh” moments of your new ideas before and after you introduce them?
  • -In what ways are you figuring out what you need to deliver to customers in the future beyond asking them, since they likely don’t know what they are going to need?
  • -How are you improving your ability to prioritize and align disparate innovation processes in different parts of your organization so they maximize value for customers?
  • -If you considered everything you have accomplished so far as “day one,” where could you be at the end of “day two”?

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Mike Brown

Mike Brown is the founder of the Brainzooming Group. He has been at the forefront of leading Fortune 500 culture change, contributing new approaches in research, developing simplified tools for innovation, strategy planning, and aligning sales, marketing, and communications strategies for maximum business results. Additionally, he’s won multiple awards for his strategic brand-building approach to customer experiences in NASCAR and conference event marketing efforts.
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Photo Credit: rodaniel via Photo Pin | Creative Commons

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