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One framework to rule them all: My favorite design thinking framework for driving strategic change

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Everyone has favorites. My favorite coffee is the Chemex Pour-Over. My favorite US-city to visit is NYC. My favorite thing to do is to run with my 2 daughters.
In my work to drive digital transformation and strategic innovation, I have one favorite tool in the toolbox. I use it almost every time. I use it in different ways. I often modify it but the core stays the same.

My favorite framework is the: Current-Future-Barriers tool.

The standard CFB’s tool and how to use it

****This is the basic template for the CFB’s tool****

How to facilitate to the CFB

The way to facilitate the CFB is to start either by defining the Current state OR the Future desired state.
1. I prefer starting with the Future as I find that it expands the horizon a bit and brings out more facets and avenues to be pursued as initiatives later.
2. Once you have Future defined, you will move to what the Barriers are to achieving the future state. You may choose to cluster and rank, depending on the size of the group and # of barriers.
3. After Barriers you move to the How Might We’s and ideation for overcoming the barriers.
– Here you may also cluster and rank if there are too many.
– This is the place where you bring in inspiration, constraints, and other techniques to drive ideas.
4. You are now ready to cluster, name and rank the ideas.

After running through the CFB flow you can move in several directions, all depending on the outcome you want.

Example #1:

You can select the top ideas and move to Capabilities needs: People, Process, Technology. Action planning follows with Owners, Actions, and Timelines.

Example #2:

You can move straight to action planning.

Example 3:

If you have a Journey-Map in mind you can develop a Future Experience using one or more of the idea themes. This can then be further refined into capabilities or actions plans.

I find the CFB the single best foundational framework for strategic engagements. In future blogs I’ll expand on how I use this framework, i.e. incorporating and modifying it with other strategy tools such as:
– Business Model
– Where to play, how to win
– etc.

What is your favorite framework for strategic engagements?