Accelerating the Innovation Journey through Envisioning

October 13, 2020 Melissa Hooper

When you start a race, you are probably already thinking about the finish line and what you have to do to accomplish what you want. You are thinking about why you signed up and what completing the race means to you. The same should be true for business.

We are in a society now where we are juggling so many things, so many competing priorities, that we can easily become overwhelmed with what comes next – just one after the other after the other unendingly. And we need a better way to handle that. I have had many mistakes and failures along the way in trying to be “perfect” and do it all simultaneously. It can be costly and detrimental to personal well-beings, your career, relationships, etc. Over time, I have learned that we just need to simplify things. Stay really simple yet keep a clear mental picture of what you want. Here’s the mini-guide for turning dreams and visions into achievable outcomes.

  1. Start with a blank sheet of paper.
  2. With a clear mind, what is the end-result that will make you happy? Write it down (start with end goals in mind).
  3. Then, map where are you now in achieving that goal or result.
  4. Outline all the baby steps to get you there, i.e. what needs to happen to go from A to B and B to C? Get tactical and be specific.

We’ll draw a guiding line so we can finish the race how we wanted to at the beginning and fill up that blank piece of paper with an optimal strategy (accounting for adaptions and other surprises as they arise, of course). We are laying out how to make your project or engagement goals an achievable reality through our method: Envisioning.

Envisioning combines three core elements to deliver on results while breaking down the development and execution of projects. When strategy, design and technology experience intersect, you get Envisioning. We optimize the process by accelerating design ideas, forming a solution concept that features a realization plan, enabling solution delivery, and defining strategy options and implications early. Our end goal is always in mind. We work backwards to get there. We will be deliberate with actions and expectations to guarantee an ideal result.

Envisioning addresses multiple pain points in the project process with its streamlined approach. Here is how it impacts organizations and why it matters most:

  • Clear Product Vision and Scope: With a clear vision, it helps to nailing down what we collectively want to get out of a specific project or launch. It keeps you from jumping in headfirst. Together, we will uncover and then agree upon a unique value proposition. Outlining and agreeing to the delivery scope will happen at this stage, too.
  • Positive Customer Journey: Discover and map out relevant customer journey touchpoints. How will your users interact with the product? How are they doing it today? What are the ideal states they like to be in? Flushing out all the interactions and experiences will help to distill what matters most for your users.
  • Build Team Consensus: Get stakeholders and leadership across the business aligned to our product vision. Pinpoint issues and mitigate them early on. Work to build a team consensus while affirming the commitment to the Envisioning process. This is a crucial building block for ensuring success in future steps.
  • Blueprint for Success: Really think about what you want to achieve and how you’re going to make that happen with each deliverable and meeting. Build out the product requirements end-to-end with all the process’ key markers highlighted. Agree on our overall solution concept. Draw up a features roadmap to call out every piece that needs to be included to create the best version of the project.

So where do we start? Envisioning begins at pre-mobilization (Step 1: blank sheet of paper). Once we have the right stakeholders lined up, we kick-off the Envisioning process. This is merely developing a game plan and aligning our expectations and vision (Step 2: end goals in mind). The next stage is discovery, when we ensure the focus is on the synthesis of existing information to reveal the customer’s unique point-of-view (Step 3: where are you now) and generate the best strategic approach to carry us through the product’s lifecycle. We gather data insights to enable user journey mapping, addressing touchpoints, workflow and optimization while defining technical strategy and design.

One of the beautiful things about Envisioning is that there’s a window for the buyer to “test” the product to see if they like what they see and, if not, adjust and test again until you do. We just have to be quick. Rapid prototyping allows for stakeholder feedback early and gets buy-in through ideation, sketching and testing out specific prototypes. This serves as a very useful teaser.

Part of Envisioning, the solution baseline stage is crucial. By this stage prescriptions on all the necessary components and characteristics of the solution build should be ready. The prescription thus connects into overall strategy to deliver a tangible plan (Step 4: the baby steps) and technical approach. Typically, from pre-mobilization to wrap-up, all Envisioning work is completed in under 10 weeks for large projects (and only 2-4 for smaller ones).

We know we live in a rat-race world where everyone is chasing after the next deadline and trying to optimize their timelines. Envisioning is the springboard for your successful project implementation, combining careful consideration, stakeholder collaboration and efficient turnarounds so projects have a why and a how to go with the when and the what. Envisioning helps justify budget requests and more clearly define goals.

By managing expectations and ambitions from the start, Envisioning delivers realistic and timely solutions that teams can be proud of. Envisioning isn’t even really an option anymore; it is an important element for all your processes. Creating actionable tasks and benchmarks to achieve a cohesive vision make projects better in the short- and long-terms. These baby steps can go a long way to realizing intentional business success.

Curious to learn more about New Signature roadmapping and consultation process? Connect with an expert today.

About the Author
Shannie has vast industry and innovation experience, specializes in launching large-scale program implementation, process optimization, opportunity identification, and strategic roadmapping. As a Digital Transformation Advisor at New Signature – Cognizant’s Microsoft Business Group, she is responsible for developing and overseeing the strategic initiatives of key accounts. She has worked extensively at the intersection of innovation and technologies in AI, Azure & Application Development and Business Applications.  In her free time, Shannie likes hiking, travelling and spending quality time with her family outdoors.

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