There are always different layers to consider when analysing and comparing new product-service ideas (e.g. alignment with user needs and goals, fit with the current brand/organization strategy, competitive advantage, technical feasibility, etc.). Especially when a concept is at a very initial stage and not much design strategy work has been done yet, it's hard to conduct such a precise assessment. At the same time, it's helpful to already develop a perspective during ideation sessions on what seems more or less promising, and immediately highlight potential issues or open points to further investigate.
The enablers and blockers exercise enables a light assessment of new ideas by asking two very simple questions:
(1) What can help bring this concept to life and make it successful?
(2) What are the main obstacles that will emerge along that journey?
The questions can be repeated for each new idea or potential scenario, answering collectively as a team and highlighting aspects that span across the different dimensions involved in a product-service development and execution cycle (e.g. user requirements, availability of resources, time needed, risk factors, communication and branding implications, etc.).
By quickly discussing enablers and blockers right at an initial stage, it's possible to already identify strengths and weaknesses of different scenarios, prioritize or even exclude certain options, and better prepare for the next phases of concept refinement and development.
Engaging all key stakeholders in this conversation allows them to gauge and expose their individual point of view, bringing clarity on what they believe in and enlightening potential tensions.
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