9 Business Reinvention Tools That’ll Solve Problems Fast
The Reinvention Tool Kit:
9 Tools That’ll Solve Problems Fast

Hi Reinvention Heroes, 

When I first got into the world of innovation and problem solving, I could literally use any technique to solve a problem, but it could take a lot of time.

That was a very l-o-n-g time ago. The problems that have arisen lately are big, messy, and urgent.

With the current economy it seems that it’s taking people more time and effort to solve problems, and there’s even more risk than ever before.

But what happens if you don’t have the time? Or you don’t know how to minimise the risk?

What should you do?

Just forget about innovating or solving the problem?

Not an option. 

Today, I want to share 9 tools that will help you solve problems faster, with minimal risk and a more resilient mind. However, unlike most lists, I’m going to share when you need to use each tool to make your life easier and help you get solutions quick smart.

Let’s jump right in.

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Tool #1: Rapid Mistake Review

When you’ve got a problem, there’s a history involved, and there’s almost certainly a mistake. Failing to see what that mistake is and decode it, is a surefire way to repeat the past mistakes. You need to either see what mistakes have been made and what’s been causing it before you go into solution mode.

Good innovators and thinkers know that being able to deconstruct ideas swiftly and effectively can help us understand why mistakes happen and prevent them from happening again. This method can also allow us to look for an improved solution or innovation that can save us time and effort and get us a more significant return for our endeavours, whatever they may be.

Unless we have professional saboteurs working for us, our teams nor we intentionally set out to make mistakes. Mistake making usually falls into one of the following three categories;

❶ A’ Real Mistake’ - happens when someone executed the wrong process.

❷ A ‘Blackout’ - occurs if someone has forgotten part of the process.

❸ A ‘Slip-up’ - eventuates when the right process has been executed incorrectly.

You can use the template below right NOW to help decode your mistakes to prevent them from happening in the future.

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Tool #2: Mindset Reset

You’re suffering from decision fatigue. You have lots of problems, but how often do you keep your mind fresh to solve the relentless waves of problems coming your way?

What you need is a tool to help reset your mindset in the shortest amount of time possible.

Cognitive diffusion is a technique that is part of the Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) method for dealing with adversity and mental or emotional issues. At the core of its methodology is the principle that things are just going to be painful and uncomfortable in many situations. 

Thoughts, quite often, are not facts. They are symbols, words, images, and constructs of your mind. Knowing this means you can use cognitive diffusion tools to reduce the power these thoughts can have.

The ACT approach focuses on making space for thoughts rather than trying to eliminate them. The reason being, if you’re focusing on removing unwanted thoughts and feelings, you are actually giving them more ‘air time.’ The more’ air time’ you give them, the less focus you have on your essential tasks. The word to consider then is expansion. How can you make more room for these uncomfortable thoughts and feelings so you can focus on innovating?

If you have any lingering thoughts (now or in the future) that distract you from executing, name and claim the thoughts and feelings by saying to yourself either aloud or internally. For example “Right here and right now I’m having the thoughts and feelings of __________, I don’t like these thoughts and feelings, but right here, right now, I have room for them.”

By using this phrase and inserting your thoughts and feelings, you signal to the brain that you’re aware of them, accepting them, accepting the situation, and making room for them even though you might not like them. By allowing space for these thoughts, you’ll reduce the amount of mental energy required to fight the thoughts, and you’ll be free to focus on something more productive or useful.

Repeat the phrase until you feel as if you can move on.

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Tool #3: Refocus Tool

You’re probably thinking how on earth is Refocussing a problem-solving tool. It really isn’t, but it is a valuable tool to help clarify where the problem lies and the ideas required to solve it.

Solving a problem can be made much easier by identifying where you need to apply your focus. Is it in how you build your product? Is it in how you Sell? Is it in how you Process people or the processes you use? Or is it in how you deliver your product to your customer?

You’ve just learnt the principles of the Refocusing tool. Ask yourself the following set of questions to help become crystal clear about the problem you’re trying to solve.

  • Do we need to reinvent the steps we go through to build either a product or a service that we offer?
  • Do we need to reinvent the steps we go through the steps we take to sell our product or service to others?
  • Do we need to reinvent the steps we go through to The steps we take in creating a process or the procedures you have to conduct business or our business model?
  • Do we need to reinvent the steps we go through to deliver either our product or process?
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Tool #4: Insight Tool

You know who your customers are, but how often do you really know what your customer is thinking and wanting from you or your industry?
Your customer may be internal (i.e., a stakeholder) or external, but what’s happening in their world can dramatically impact whether a customer is buying and using your product versus a competitor.
Alternatively, they might be persisting with your offering despite the distinct pain points they are encountering.

How can you fix it?
Use our following insight questions to help work out what’s really going on in your customer’s mind.

  • What do our customers believe right now? E.g. They believe that the economy is ruined, or that there’s no growth to be made.
  • What are our customers valuing right now? E.g. They are valuing security and certainty right now.
  • What are our customers experiencing? E.g. They are experiencing a massive disruption and a decrease in sales.
  • What are our customers aspiring to? E.g. They are aspiring to lead the domestic market and to enter the international market next year.
  • What are our customers thinking? E.g. They are continually thinking of competing with the small agile start-ups.
  • What are our customer’s feelings? E.g. They are feeling fearful and distrusting of the government.
  • How are our customers behaving? E.g. Our customers are behaving thriftily and counting their pennies on every purchase they make, and only purchasing short term service solutions.
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Tool #5: Ideation Tool

Can you guess how many ideas I can create when put on the spot and asked for a solution with no prior preparation?

I create a minimum of 8 ideas every single time.

Most of the time it’s a multiple of that number. And no, I’m not a savant, genius, or Nostradamus.

I simply use an ideation tool I developed called SCRAMBLE.
Next time you’re put on the spot, remember the word SCRAMBLE.

  • What could you Substitute?
  • What could you Combine?
  • What could you Reverse?
  • What could you Adapt or add?
  • What could you Multiply or magnify?
  • What could you Break down- or break up?
  • What could you Leverage elsewhere?
  • What could you Eliminate?
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Tool #6: Idea Selection Tool

Not having a transparent way to assess an idea is the fastest way to undermine a team’s drive and cohesion. You’ve got a stack of ideas, but which one should you use or action? If you don’t have a transparent process to help you pick the right solution in front of everyone, you may have a future mutiny on your hands. 

That’s why we created a visual tool to help you select the best idea, and so everyone else can see and understand why the chosen idea was a clear winner, versus favouritism.

Score your potential ideas out of 10 from the following three criteria:

  • Tactical - is this a problem the market wants solved?
  • Technical - do you have the technical skills to solve this?
  • Financial - how deep are the market's pockets?

Now plot the ideas accordingly on a graph like the one below.

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Tool #7: The Validation Tool

You’ve got some ideas to solve the problem, but you’re scared that the solution mightn’t work and that it might end up costing you lots of money.

What do you do?

When you’re sharing an idea, everyone else in the room has their negativity bias in full swing. ‘Will this work?’ ‘What’s most likely to go wrong?’ Everyone’s mind is looking to shoot down your idea. It’s not personal, it’s just how our brains operate. That’s why you need to validate.

The validation tool covers three areas.

  1. Is this a problem worth solving?
  2. Is the market willing to pay for the solution?
  3. Will our solution actually work?

1. Is this a problem worth solving?
Let’s face it, there’s not much point trying to solve a problem that no one else thinks is worth solving. Find out whether it’s an issue by checking out forums, chat’s, user groups, customer logs, etc. If no one’s talking about it, maybe it’s not worth solving.

2. Is the market willing to pay for the solution?
Okay, you’ve all agreed the problem is worth solving, but will people be willing to pay for the solution. Asking someone isn’t usually good enough.

It’s better to see how someone reacts. That means building something like a landing page with a 'buy now' button on it. If people visit the page, it reaffirms it’s a problem people want to be solved, and if they click on the buy now button, it proves they are willing to pay for it. Oh, by the way, you don’t have to have the product solution started, just send them to a page saying something like ‘We’re so glad you interested in our solution, we’re not quite ready to launch yet, but leave your details so we can let you know the we’re ready to ship.’

3. Will our solution actually work?
Again asking someone if something works isn’t anywhere near as powerful as watching how someone reacts. Test a rough prototype on 5 people, see how they behave, and then ask them questions about their actions. For example, “I noticed that you didn’t touch that, why was that the case?” Or “I noticed you kept looking at… what was going through your mind at that moment?”

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Tool #8: The Idea Strengthening Tool

You or someone else has an idea, but it’s weak. You need to strengthen it quick smart. You can either use the questions below to prompt someone else for ideas to strengthen the idea or use it for yourself to claim some fame.

  • Is this idea OUTSOURCEABLE? – Can we outsource the production of this idea or components of it?
  • What will make this idea more CONSTRUCTIBLE? – can we ease the implementation of putting this idea together?
  • What will make this idea more USEABLE? – How can we make this easy, intuitive, and frustration-free?
  • What can make this idea more FUNCTIONAL? – What can we do to make sure this idea truly works and performs?
  • How can we make this idea more DESIRABLE? – What can we do to the aesthetics to increase the appeal?
  • How can we make this idea more AFFORDABLE? – What can we do to reduce the cost of constructing our solution and reduce the customer’s cost?
  • What can make AUTOMATABLE? – What ways can we use technology to automate several or more functions of this idea?
  • How can we be more LOGISTICAL with this idea? – What do we need to consider in terms of the supply chain and distribution of our idea?
  • What would make our idea more EFFECTUAL? – What will increase the effectiveness of the solution concerning the problem we’re trying to solve?
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Tool #9: The Pitching Tool

We all need to share our solution at some time. And having a quick, easy way to pitch it is imperative.

I’ve found that the following simple five-step approach is efficient when you don’t have a lot of time to prepare and rehearse as you can use the steps in presenting your solution. I’ve adapted method this from Michael Port.

1.    The big idea - what your big idea is
2.    Promise - what your big idea will accomplish
3.    Payoff – the benefits your solution will bring
4.    Stakes – what’s at risk, what can go wrong if they don’t use your big idea
5.    Know your world – show how you know the type of world your audience experiences

Here’s an example:
I’ve been on your side of the fence, and I know how tough things are right now. No time, not enough clients… (know your world)
The big idea is to eliminate the time you spend doing… by using a… (big idea)
I can promise you that using a…will free up a minimum of … (promise)
The risk of not doing it is that your labor costs will continue to rise and your production costs will be cost-prohibitive (risks)
The payoff, in addition to the time-saving, includes… (benefits)

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You’ve now got an arsenal of powerful tools to start your Reinvention.
If you’re looking for more support, we’re always here to help. We understand that time is sometimes an issue for smart, busy people like yourself, so we have a suite of solutions for your challenges.

Why not check out our Reinvention Club? In the Reinvention Club, you’ll find our best tips, online courses, and support without running a workshop in your workspace.

Thanks for reading. 


Nils Vesk

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About Nils Vesk

He's the founder of Ideas With Legs.

His  clients call him a Reinvention Renegade. Nils Vesk is an international authority on innovation and the inventor of the ‘Innovation Archetypes Process’.

Around the globe, leading companies such as Nestle, HP & Pfizer turn to Nils to share his proven innovation techniques for formulating commercial insights, ideas, extraordinary customer experiences and irresistible products.

Nils unpacks the million-dollar innovation principles used to create rapid growth for the future.

Nils is the author of a number of books including "Ideas With Legs - How to Create Brilliant Ideas and Bring Them to Life", and "Innovation Archetypes - Principles for World Class Innovation".

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