Strategy Planning Step 3: Ideation of Strategic Opportunities

A key anti-pattern many executives encounter is the combination of ideation and prioritization - coming up with an idea and immediately giving it strategic priority and importance. This is often sub-optimal for any size of business.

In this video, we explore the third step in successful Strategy Planning: ideating strategic opportunities. Ideation must be separated from prioritization or selection of opportunities. The ideation step is creative and unrestrained - the purpose is to cast the net wide and uncover potential ways to achieve the Outcomes.

Be sure to watch the overview of all 6 steps here.

Presented by Kut Akdogan, Partner at Gaussian Holdings.

Click here for the next video in this series.

Strategic initiative ideation: summary of video

A common mistake is to prioritize a strategic idea as soon as you have it. This is not optimal as in the heat of the moment, you don't have the necessary context to understand the quantitative priority of an idea. That's why the third discrete step of strategy planning is ideation.

What is it we're ideating, though? What are strategic opportunities? Opportunities are ways to  achieve our strategic outcomes, for instance, different initiatives and maneuvers to reach $100 million in revenue. Roger Martin puts it nicely. Where to play, how to win.

At top organizations, only a small number of cohesive, interlinked opportunities are selected and meshed into a strategy, so good opportunity ideas must be big enough to make meaningful progress against the outcomes you need. If your outcome demands an additional $50 million in annual revenue, then each opportunity should contribute $10 to $20 million.

In the ideation step leaderspull in the opportunity ideas uncovered in research and in an unrestrained way, add new ones. Remember to cast the net wide. It's better to capture an idea and later deprioritize it than to ignore the idea and have it gnaw at you later. If an idea seems small, ask yourselves: Is this part of an existing idea or is there a generalization of this idea that is bigger? Ideation can often happen in one to two whiteboard working sessions with some offline pre-work. Broad informed ideation is critical to a good strategy.

In our next video, we'll look at the fourth step of strategy planning: Prioritization.

For more resources or services for ideating strategic opportunities at your organization, contact us here or shoot us a note by email or on LinkedIn.

Work with Gaussian Consulting

Related consulting services

Many companies work with us to achieve the best practices and outcomes mentioned in this article. Our services focus on clients' most pressing opportunities and challenges, no matter the industry.


Subscribe for innovation and strategy insights.

Join our mailing list to get occasional, insightful articles from Gaussian on profitable innovation and successes in the market.