Autodesk got its start when we democratized CAD technology by making it available on personal computers that were much less expensive than special-purpose workstations so that small mom and pop architect shops could graduate from using their drafting tables. We have never forgotten that and still sell to Mom and Pop shops today, but in addition to small shops, we also have large firms as customers. For them, we are often a trusted advisor instead of just another vendor. Part of the reason is that we work closely with them to help them solve their workflow-related problems.
One of the things that some of our larger customers take advantage of is our Future of Making workshops. In these workshops, a customer identifies a problem that they are having, and Autodesk works with them to apply problem-solving techniques in pursuit of solutions. Over a series of blog posts, I thought I'd share some of those techniques.
One approach to customer-workflow problem-solving is to:
- FRAME THE CONTEXT — What is changing in your business?
- ANALYZE FORCES — What is the impact to your business?
- EXPLORE OPTIONS — What might you do differently?
- ENVISION YOUR FUTURE — What should you do differently?
- DECIDE BOLD STEPS — What will you do differently?
A variety of problem-solving techniques can be applied during these steps. One of the techniques that can be used to ANALYZE FORCES is to use a SOAR Map:
SOAR is a variation of SWAT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.) SOAR is different in that instead of weaknesses, it includes aspirations to provide participants with a general direction of success. The underlying structure begins with participants' strengths that flow into opportunities ahead that are focused on the participants' aspirations that are rendered into specific results.
Aspects of the SOAR Map include:
- Process - Each participant writes an item on a sticky note and places it on a quadrant.
- Strengths - organizational areas of great capability, resilience, or flexibility
- Opportunities - key places for improvement, growth, gaining market share, improving operational efficiency
- Aspirations - broad business intent of the organization
- Results - what success looks like
- SOAR Flow - Participants describe the sequences of strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results in a single sentence.
The SOAR Map is a Grove Consultants International technique.
Technique sharing is alive in the lab.