Recession-proofing your business for difficult economic times. Learn how to not just survive, but thrive in a recession.
What is the Opportunity
How can you introduce your staff, or stakeholders to the Opportunity
There are various formats available to familiarize your staff with the opportunity recognition process and the Opportunity
- A one hour key note address introducing the (OC) that’s designed for conferences, forums, symposia, monthly department meetings, annual retreats or strategic planning meetings
- A workshop that teaches the cognitive thinking skills behind sense-making, opportunity recognition and opportunity design
- A workshop that provides participants with a rigorous framework and systematic process for spotting and/or designing opportunity scenarios for their business and industry.
- Advanced in-house programs, including integrating the (OC) into your strategic planning process, an-ongoing corporate opportunity recognition process, a customized blog, an customized opportunity audit, syndicated stories and more.
- Several post secondary educational institutions in
Who can benefit from the Opportunity
Numerous groups have benefited from the Opportunity
The Opportunity Clinic© allows entrepreneurs and managers to 1) navigate the uncertainties in economic downturns and 2) to use our framework to scan for, design and evaluate emerging new opportunity spaces 3) thrive and not just survive in a recession.
Background / Logic
Difficult economic times present challenges, risks and even threats to survivability for most business owners and especially science and technology-based enterprises that might have disruptive or unproven technology. Decisions that made sense as little as six months ago, may prove disastrous in this climate. Chaos, change and uncertainty may lead to turmoil, but it also presents opportunity windows or scenarios for entrepreneurs that are opportunity-sensitive and opportunity-savvy to act on the change. The Jan.19th 2009 issue of Business Week states:
“History has shown that crisis breeds opportunity…[…]…”in times of turmoil, opportunities abound. But taking advantage of them will require [a new mindset], fast reflexes, an aggressive attitude, and serious changes [challenges] to the status quo….bold moves in bad times can pay off big.”
Background / Logic (continued)
Wharton Business School professor Mauro Guillen observes: “a recession creates winners and losers just like a boom.” Most entrepreneurs intuitively recognize this however, they do not have a rigorous and systematic process for spotting or designing opportunities. Many technology entrepreneurs also tend to be more technology savvy then business savvy. They are overly enamored by their own technology and consequently pay less attention to or ignore equally important business and strategic issues, which are critical to business survival, especially in a recession.
Principle behind the Opportunity Clinic©
"Chance favors the prepared mind", so the saying goes. So, it follows that if an entrepreneur has a repertoire or portfolio of examples of different generic opportunity windows, they can use them as a templates or lenses for either 1) proactively designing novel opportunity windows for their business, more effectively and ahead of their competition or 2) as a scanning checklist to reactively spot unique opportunity scenarios when the circumstances present themselves. Once a business startup determines the question-what business are we in and who do we market to, then there are hundreds of secondary or tertiary opportunity windows that most entrepreneurs ignore or are not familiar with.
History and Future
The Opportunity Clinic©concept was initially developed by Walter Derzko in 1981-82 as part of a series of workshops on Lateral Thinking Skills in Business for Bell Canada and has progressively evolved through the years.
It was popular in the next recession in 1990-91 and was later taught in a course on Lateral Thinking at Conestoga College (Kitcherner, Ontario) in 1997. Next the process was updated and exclusively used in the Idea Lab at the Design Exchange (Toronto) in 1997 and 1998 and at the Innovations Foundation, University of Toronto, in workshops in September and October 2001. More recently, it was included in the curriculum design for the Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies in 2007 and 2008 and will be used in 2009 at George Brown College in the Research, Commercialization and Innovation (RCI) program, at Ryerson University in the entrepreneurship program in 2009 and at the Canadian Innovation Centre (CIC) in Waterloo. A series of “public” Opportunity Clinic© workshops were also conducted at the University of Toronto and Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) in the summer of 2008.
In 2009 and 2010 the Opportunity Clinic© will be featured at the annual meeting of Enterprise Toronto and will be part the curriculum of a new Masters program in Strategic Foresight at OCAD (Toronto). The Opportunity Clinic© has been used in-house by various organizations including The Royal Bank, Bell Canada, VTT in Finland, Forrester Research and Loblaws and numerous science and technology startups.
A book on the Opportunity Clinic© is now in the works and will be published soon.
To introduce your organization to the Opportunity Clinic©, contact: Walter Derzko, Smart Economy
Supplied on request