Objection Handling

Objection Handling

When pitching a method from the Innovation Toolkit, we are (not surprisingly) occasionally met with a little resistance… or even a brick wall or two. The tools and methods we’re suggesting people try are generally new, foreign, and might require people to step a bit out of their comfort zone, so it’s natural for some people to feel reluctant or even skeptical!

Early adopters are the minority in any domain, and ITK is no exception. Our early adopters are the risk-takers willing to try something new that might potentially fail. For those who are not early adopters, pushback might be direct like some of the statements below, or it might just be a passive nod that reads: “I hear what you are saying, but I don’t know how to respond. You seem passionate, so I’ll just smile and change the subject as soon as possible…”

Rather than dropping the suggestion, we recommend some friendly and understanding ways to handle naysayers and find a way through those walls.  Here are some of the most common objections and a few thoughts on how to respond.

“This won’t work in our culture.”
It might be helpful to introduce the tools in a less conspicuous way. For example, instead of using the full Rose, Bud, Thorn, we might simply explain the purpose and have a conversation about what’s good, bad, and promising. We don’t always need to use the full canvas or plaster the wall with colorful post-it’s to get the impact of the tools.

 “Can’t get people together in the same room.”
That’s OK! The tools can be used virtually if you have screen sharing and remote collaboration capabilities. Alternatively, we could introduce the tools to folks to use asynchronously from their own workspaces.

“We don’t have the time / money / resources.”
All of the tools are free to use and scalable, so holding a session can fit into your existing work schedule. Spend the last 15 minutes of your weekly team meeting to try out [insert tool here]. If it’s not useful, we don’t have to use it again.

“We can’t get everyone to break away like that.”
Of course, everyone is busy. Remember: these tools are not adjacent to the work we’re all supposed to be doing. They actually ARE the work, and they generally help us do the work faster, better, and more productively. Also keep in mind most of the tools are scalable and customizable for your purposes. If you only have a short period of time, I’d recommend setting a time limit for the session and see if people are interested in a follow on. A 15-minute Lotus Blossom could be just what the doctor ordered.

“We already have folks who do this.”
Fantastic. Feel free to use any of our tools with your own facilitators or let us know if you would like a new perspective! We’re always open to collaborating.

“The facilitators don’t have the right subject expertise.”
Sometimes an objective third-party facilitator can bring new perspectives and ask questions that might not occur to people who are closer to the problem and more familiar with the content. Our trained facilitators can support the conversation and get people talking more openly and honestly. Of course, if you’d prefer to not have us facilitate, we’re happy to simply recommend tools you can use on your own

Hopefully some of these tips resonate with your situation and can help move forward a team to use some of the ITK methods. Have you encountered any other objections? If so, please share them and how you handled it below!

Announcing Mini Canvases!

Announcing Mini Canvases!

Today’s blog post is by Allison Khaw, a systems engineer and frequent creative collaborator & co-facilitator with the Innovation Toolkit.

Over the holidays, I received a Knock Knock “Make A Decision” notepad as a gift. It walks you through the decision-making process with just the right mix of realism and levity. This was a perfect gift for me, as I’ve always loved miniature versions of, well, everything. I have a mini book, a mini mirror, and a mini briefcase for business cards in a neat row on my desk, and if you look more closely, you’ll find a handful (literally) of other such knick-knacks too. In my day-to-day job as a systems engineer at MITRE, I model systems on a much larger scale, and yet, this notepad got me thinking… What if the tools in the Innovation Toolkit were represented in a similar format? In addition to the standard large format tool canvases, what if there were… Mini Canvases?

And the idea was born. Four ITK tools – Problem Framing, Premortem, TRIZ Prism, and Rose Bud Thorn – seemed perfect for a first batch. These tools could be designed to fit on 8.5×5.5” sheets of paper while remaining readable. They could then be produced in bulk and widely distributed. Through it all, their power to help would speak louder than their unassuming size…

• Need to frame a problem? Explore a problem space and ensure that you are solving for the right problem with the Problem Framing tool.
• Need to develop a plan? Imagine a future scenario where a current project, activity, or initiative has utterly failed… and explore this scenario with the Premortem tool.
• Need to generate ideas? Uncover novel solutions to existing problems with the TRIZ Prism tool.
• Need to evaluate options? Identify a topic (system, product, process, organization, etc.) for analysis with the Rose, Bud, Thorn tool.

The beauty of these Mini Canvases is that they emulate an innovative mindset. You want to experiment with using the same tool in different ways? You “fail” with your current sheet and want to begin anew? Easy, just rip off the old sheet and use a fresh one. The possibilities are endless.

But hey, we practice what we preach. What if these Mini Canvases are not successful? Let’s find out! Here is a Premortem Mini Canvas filled out meta-style (RIP: These Mini Canvases). We’ll use what we discover here to adjust in the future. What about you? What can you change about your own goals and risk mitigation strategies to improve your current products?

Looking ahead, these Mini Canvases will be used as ITK “swag” at conferences and events (stay tuned!). They can serve as effective innovation tools, simple conversation-starters, or both. At the very least, they can sit at your desk, as a playful reminder of the tools at your disposal, if you so need them.

We plan to produce more of them soon.

I never thought that my love for everything miniature would come into play here, and yet it did. So keep an eye out. You never know when inspiration will strike and how far along the innovation path it may take you. Wherever you find yourself, Team Toolkit is ready to help.

– Allison Khaw