Step#7: Engage – invite the eco-system to help

Step#7: Engage – invite the eco-system to help

Your master plan is ready. Now it is time to share is with the rest of the world. You can choose to leave elements out, for instance because they are too competitor sensitive. But note that these elements will not develop as fast as the shared ones and will lack the backing of the ecosystem. When in doubt, share. Were the previous steps about top down developing a strategy, the next steps are about bottom up building new business. In this step you present your plan to all your stakeholders, you explain why you need to change, what the end goal is and how you intend to get there. But you also invite them to come-up with ideas to make it happen. Every shareholder, every director, every employee, every supplier and every customer needs to know and understand what your plan is so they can contribute to the realization of it. If you limit yourself to just a small group you will encounter a lot of friction along the way and many external and internal discussions blocking progress.

Start with your shareholders

You start with your shareholders and senior management. Convincing them is key. Sell them the problem first. Explain the situation and why doing nothing is not an option. Give them some time to digest before coming up with the solution. Then present your plan and reach out for them by asking them how they think they can help to make it work. Present them also the underlying hypotheses of the plan and which one you’ve already validated.

Than your employees

Secondly you present the plan to your employees, all of them. Make in this presentation a clear distinction between the running business and the new business. What will change and what will remain the same for now. Inspire and focus on the opportunities of this future role. You are in this together. It is going to be an adventure. At the same time be clear about possible downsides, cut of jobs and the change everyone will go have to go through to be part of the new organization. Conclude with explaining that you presented merely a framework for change and that the next phase is to organize it and that you are open for ideas and suggestions that can contribute.

Followed by your customers

Thirdly present your ambitions to your customers. Invite them to react. Do they believe you can play that future role? Are they open to collaborate, to explore this course together and start joint initiatives?

Finaly your suppliers

Last but not least invite your preferred suppliers, present them your plan and ask them how they can help.

Don’t expect everyone to be as enthusiastic about your plan as you are. Nobody likes to change. Change always inherits uncertainties and possible threats. For most people it takes time to accept a new direction. The more consistently you repeat your storyline the easier it gets for everyone to accept the new reality. And walk the talk.

Once you have engaged all your stakeholders in your master plan you can proceed with Step #8: to organize your change. Need help? Here’s a checklist that can help you to get it right.

Do you like to comment? Let’s start the conversation.

What are your experiences in how innovation is managed? Can you relate to the steps of the Cycle? Do you know inspiring examples of organizations that are doing it well? Or failing miserably? This autumn the 11 posts of the Cycle of Innovation will be assembled in a book together with the best comments with attribution. As a token of my appreciation you receive a copy of the book per mail just in time for Christmas.


The DOK 5 Cycle of Innovation is an easy-to-use method that helps existing organizations to innovate effectively & efficient. The cycle consists of 10 steps that precede each other logically. They help to envision, plan, focus and deliver results without ignoring the existing business. Read more about the Cycle of Innovation.

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