We’ve been using the Innovation Games® framework Speedboat for many years to help teams evaluate the anchors holding back their product or company, then develop solutions to cut the anchor chain and propel them forward. It’s a great, easy to understand metaphor.
We adapted it to use the Sailboat analogy so we could add in the positive aspects of the breezes filling the sails, representing the things which are moving the team or product in moving. This went down especially well in coastal areas.
Recently we’ve been extending the metaphor to more closely align with the elements of SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) that most managers are used to using.
Our approach using anchors and wind, didn’t differentiate between internal and external factors, so anchors could capture both Threats and Weaknesses, and winds could capture Opportunities and Strengths.
As this seems like a brilliant idea, it must have been done before, right. Well…it has.
There are two approaches we like, developed by diverse organizations; Black Swan Farming and Paladin Studios.
Black Swan Farming’s approach, which is most similar to our thinking (as it’s also based on Innovation Games) is:
So you can see the original elements, but they differentiate Storms, or negative wind events, representing Threats and Anchors, which represent Weaknesses or internal barriers.
The Tradewinds are a positive wind, so represent Opportunities, and the sails are the Strengths, as you can set the proper sails for you market, increasing or decreasing as required.
The Paladin Studios model is a bit different, but also easily understandable. Here is their representation:
In this case they extend the metaphor in, perhaps, an even more appropriate way. As Threats and Opportunities are meant to focus on external elements, they use an Island to represent Opportunities and a Reef to represent Threats.
Their use of the sailboat with it sails representing Strengths and Anchors representing Weaknesses is consistent with the original Innovation Games® Speedboat game, as modified.
So we encourage you to think about how you might use these tools to help move your product, service, team or organization forward.
As always, you can benefit from having a professional facilitator help you with game design and set-up, playing the game, and then post-processing the results. We’re always willing to help.
Steve and Megann