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The New How by Nilofer Merchant

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Chapter 5. Phase II: Envision

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Create Options That Matter and Know Why They Matter

Knowing that insights reside everywhere and new solutions can come from anywhere, we need a systematic way to gather, analyze, and develop new, creative options to solve the problem—without being bogged down. That’s what the second phase of the QuEST process framework, Envision, is all about. It’s where we generate a wide range of options for solving the problem, and begin to track the criteria that will ultimately let us choose the best options based on our shared vision of success.

If you are like most people, you start this chapter with some context for how to approach problem solving through idea generation and brainstorming techniques.[12] The weakness with these tools and techniques is that people use them assuming that the best idea will become apparent. However, people often generate a range of ideas without a clear idea of whether those choices will actually work, given the organization’s internal capabilities and market situation. The Envision phase lets you use whatever approach you want for idea generation, but adds a nuance to the process by recognizing that not all solutions are right for a particular company.

Envision aims to answer the question, “What is the right set of options for you, given your problem and particular set of circumstances?” It’s not about blue-sky thinking and generating ...

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