This SME had reached a point where they needed to spend time on rather than in their business. The covid19 pandemic has accelerated the need for change, but many SMEs are not sure where to start. Working with the core team, we took an analytical look at the data they were collecting through their business process, both intentionally and inadvertently, and how they might work with this data to improve their business growth.
Collaboration, flexibility, inclusion and accountability are things SMEs need to be constantly modifying to remain competitive, according to a recent McKinsey report, and this needs a process and dedicated time. It is tricky for an SME to find that balance between time spent on the business rather than in the business. An “all-hands-on-deck” approach works for a while, and then comes a time when a broader perspective and revised strategy are needed.
To help this local SME take stock and move forward, we ran an online innovation strategy workshop. We used a layered approach of one app for communicating with the workshop participants and another for the collaborative whiteboard. The result was a customised journey that provided clear and specific actions for this business to take forward. It also allowed us to work on different points in a way that suited all 15 people on the call.
This workshop took place over two sessions, giving everyone time to digest, reflect and come back with new ideas and questions. In order to gain a deeper understanding of how their business had evolved, we started with a Data Dive™, in which we took stock of the current situation by identifying the types of business data that this SME had collected about themselves as well as (anonymously) their clients over time. We grouped these into outward looking market data, internal operations data, communication data, and others. We identified key points that, when analysed, would confer a significant positive impact on their business growth and resilience.
The second session, the Data Swim™, we took a minute to reflect on why they had not done this analysis already – and identified bottlenecks that they can unblock to allow a more dynamic approach to their business strategy planning process. From there, we created realistic and achievable solutions and improvements to push the business forward.
These interactive workshops provided an opportunity for this SME to take the time to think more deeply about their business and how to improve it. The confidential safe space created online allowed every team member to express themselves without interruption, everyone was included and all points were made effectively and taken on board. The results were “superb”, to use their own words!
“Thanks for a great workshop, I certainly really enjoyed it and exciting to see next steps.”
“Her energy came through even on Zoom.”
“It was such an informative workshop and really made us think critically about some of the things we want to achieve.”
(Image taken by S. Khuri and posted with permission from all participants)