Tools in the Toolbox: Three Tools Consultants Should Know
Mission Needs Analysis defines the needs of the client clearly, with the goal of setting the stage for a project or individual tasks. Some techniques that enable collaboration with clients are 1) a Mission Analysis Questionnaire that defines needs, risks, and priorities, 2) a Mission Analysis Document that Communicates the Mission, Vision, Strategy, and Measurable Objectives, and 3) a Strategy Statement Exercise that articulates the differentiating strategy in 35 words or less.
Innovation Workshops benefit our clients, as they bring together key stakeholders to address organizational, performance, process, technology, or management challenges. They help apply the newest Design Thinking techniques.
- Identifying Goals/Objectives: Host an ideation session to identify and define a specific challenge
- Choose Attendees, Facilitator, and Setup: Invite relevant parties; choose a facilitator who is unbiased, objective, and credible; arrange participants in a circular table or U shape
- Develop an Agenda and Innovation Tools: Examples include Client Innovation Maps, Empathy Map, Innovation Question Storming, Mindmap, and Affinity Sessions
- Choose Outcomes to Implement: Define metrics; identify winning solutions and ideas; assign and track items and next steps clearly
So why use these tools? They help clients identify their organizational strengths, align solutions with their priority challenges, and identify innovative ways to design and implement solutions in a flexible, agile way.
Analysis and innovation are critical to the Government in times of security pressure and budget austerity. Successful tools that accelerate how consultants innovate for their clients are critical.
At Arc Aspicio, the three tools that address our Government and homeland clients’ needs most successfully are Team Problem Solving, Mission Needs Analysis, and Innovation Workshops. We call these proprietary tools ‘accelerators’ because they help our teams partner with clients to accelerate mission success.
Team Problem Solving incorporates four steps to drive effective and innovative team collaboration:
- Set-up: Identify a group facilitator responsible for creating a problem statement, creating a plan for the problem solving session, and providing background information as pre-reads
- Identify the Causes: Employ issue-based problem solving methods, such as issue trees, and make sure you have gathered sufficient information and have the right people in the room to construct a solution
- Identify the Solution(s): Analyze competing hypotheses or “guess and check” and structured brainstorming
- Identify Next Steps: Document the discussion and decisions, identify next steps and establish due dates and owners of action items, monitor progress, and schedule future problem solving sessions (on some projects, this happens as frequently as twice per week