Start With These Questions

Innovation should support business objectives, so business questions are the right place to start. Although innovation is multidimensional and you will need to address many issues along the way, start with these questions to make the process smoother and easier:

  1. What Is Our Mission?
    1. What are our challenges
    2. What are our opportunities?
    3. Does the mission need to be revisited?
  2. Who Is Our Customer?
    1. Who is our primary customer
    2. Who are our supporting customers?
    3. How will our customers change?
  3. What Does the Customer Value?
    1. What do we believe our primary and supporting customers value?
    2. What knowledge do we need to gain from our customers?
    3. How will I participate in gaining this knowledge?
  4. What Are Our Results?
    1. How do we define results?
    2. Are we successful?
    3. How should we define results?
    4. What must we strengthen or abandon?
  5. What Is Our Plan?
    1. Should the mission be changed?
    2. What are our goals?

Any innovation will beg these questions, so starting with them is a solid place to start all the conversations you’ll lead and participate in.

Don’t skip the mission question. While you can’t change your department’s or agency’s mission, reviewing your organizational unit’s mission is useful. Questions about mission cluster with questions about customers and services. Those conversations will open up new ways of thinking about what you deliver, and how, to provide better value.

These questions are straight from Peter Drucker’s The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Nonprofit Organization. See my blog, Drucker’s Five Questions, for additional information.


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