Tiimiakatemia on Jyväskylän Ammattikorkeakoulun yrittäjyyden huippuyksikkö

24H Challenge Tool kit: Pro Edition

Kirjoitettu 29.05.16
Esseen kirjoittaja: Olli Leikas
Kirjapisteet: 4
Kirja: The Decision Book - Fifty models for strategic thinking; Start with Why - How great leader inspire everyone to take action
Kirjan kirjoittaja: Mikael Krogerus, Roman Tschäppeler; Simon Sinek
Kategoriat: 1.3. Oppivan organisaation ja tiimiyrityksen kehittämistyökalut, 3.2. Yrittäjän taidot ja työkalut, 4.2. Johjajan / valmentajan taidot ja työkalut, 4.3. Johtamisen ja organisaation kehittämisen työkalut, 7. Innovointi, 7.1. Luovan ajattelun työkalut

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1 Prologue

2 Rules & Regulations

3 Helpdesk       

4 Team set-up

5 Challenge set-up

6 Challenge start-up

7 Challenge push-up

8 Challenge close-up

9 Constructing step-by-step

10 Epilogue



1 Prologue

This Tool kit is primarily designed to aid in the innovative business development process “24H Birthgiving” that has seen its first dawn and daylight in Tiimiakatemia//Team Academy Finland. Birthgiving is the heart and core of the learning processes in this special unit of entrepreneurship. It is variably used in different occasions; as a way to develop a team itself, as a product/service to serve other companies and create income and as a final test of a team’s expertise at the end of Tiimiakatemia journey.

The most challenging form of birthgiving is usually “the Final 24H.” Basic idea in these innovation processes is this: limited time frame for a business related challenge (one of team’s own or one of another organization) with the intention to create a never-seen-before solution and a ready-to-use action plan. In the Final 24H there are 24 hours to solve 3 large scale challenges of three different companies. In order to do so, the team up to the challenge will have to be fluent in the birthgiving method and expert in time management, team leading, business models, etcetera, etcetera.

One of the most crucial things during the process is “keeping it visual.” I’ll explain this in just a few short moments. The 24H Tool kit is filled with different models that will help the team from ground up all the way to the finish line and ensures, that everything is accounted for. Inspiration and guidance are found from The Decision Book by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppler. Their book includes fifty models for strategic thinking; “The models in this book simplify, organize and sum up. But also they are pragmatic, visual and methods.”

Keeping-it-visual is crucial because when we encounter chaos (and in 24H that is a constant rather than a variable), we seek ways to structure it or at least to gain an overview of it. “Models help us to reduce the complexity of a situation by enabling us to suppress most of it and concentrate on what is important.” And that is the reason I created this Tool kit. I wanted to help other teampreneurs to structure or gain overview in times of chaos and because eventually I will be in the situation of 24H myself. However, these models also work outside of the Tiimiakatemia world, so if you’d like to test these in your own grounds – please go ahead! They are meant to be used. If you’d like to use them, but don’t know how or how you could apply them to suit your organization – contact me!

Pro tips are for amateurs that want to stay mediocre and sometimes fly a little bit higher. Real gurus carry around their own Tool kit: Pro edition style. You with me? Let’s start!


2 Rules & Regulations

As we know from experience, to perform extraordinarily we need guidelines for action. It is to ensure that when operating under heavy pressure, we have coded in our spine a few combinations of intuitive reactions for different situations. Also, only when we have established ground rules and follow them, can we make adjustments and changes to them.

1) Every model used has to be in visual form; either drawn or computer-made.

2) Every model used has to be in print version and easily viewed during the process.


3 Helpdesk tools

Whenever everything seems to be standing still, there are few accessible models you should use to keep moving forward.

1) The Golden Circle (Simon Sinek – Start with Why): people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. What you do is the outcome and token of your belief. Golden Circle is a way to present information and a way for the leader to ensure the team is on the right tracks. Regularly check whether you know why you are doing something, how you are doing something and what you are actually doing. Always in this order, so that the why comes first, how comes second and finally what.

2) The rubber band model: When faced with a dilemma the model is designed to help a person choose between two options. Answer to two simple questions: What is holding me? What is pulling me? The question reflects a situation with two attractive alternatives. Construct encompassing lists of both and start comparing them with each other. Which alternative gets more attraction?

3) The Check-List: is very simple but effective way to create space in tight places. When feeling that there are too much variables in the air and too much tasks to remember, put them all into one whole list, assign team members who are responsible of each, set time frames and start executing one at the time. Always cross over completed task and never start another before the previous is done or returned to the list with new time estimate and responsible person.

4) Eisenhower matrix: “The US President Dwight D. Eisenhower supposedly once said: ‘The most urgent decisions are rarely the most important ones.’ This tool is sort of an add-on tool to Check-List. When you’ve made your list of tasks, use to Eisenhower matrix to prioritize them: if it’s important, but not urgent – decide when you’ll do it; if urgent, but not important – delegate to somebody else; if urgent and important – do immediately; if not important and not urgent – do it later.

The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle


4 Team set-up tools

These are for the team’s leader to build and ready the team itself to its peak condition before the challenge. And as described, Team set-up models should be done _before_ the challenge and used with time and focus. But make no mistake; even though they are first and foremost team leader’s get-ready tools, it doesn’t mean that they only benefit the leader. Each and every team member needs to be interested to know these facts about themselves and other team members.

1) The Uffe Elbaek model: this model’s interests are to offer general understanding in one’s behavioral traits and tendencies. It is sort of an opinion barometer that can be viewed from four different perspectives per person: ‘how you see yourself,’ ‘how you would like to see yourself,’ ‘how others see you’ and ‘how others would like to see you.’ It is based on four axes with opposite opinions defining the scale directions, for example: global – local, team – individual, body – brain. Set up the model, draw the scales and define the axes. Use different perspectives to gain overall view on one’s abilities.

2) The Family tree: This model is for visualizing the available connections within the team. The model can be pre-filled before the challenge with the whole network gathered from the team’s resources. As the challenge moves to further stages, it should be updated to potential and helpful connections. There can also be added “question marks.” Meaning that there’s probably a perfect connection but needs to be introduced by an existing contact.

3) The Belbin team profiles: Meredith Belbin discovered in the 1970’s that homogeneous teams don’t work as well as mixed teams. You need diversity to create enough tension in order to create supreme results and with Belbin’s team role test you can make sure that’ll be all good. The test reveals your team profiles strengths and weaknesses. Based on Belbin’s observations there are nine different profiles; action-oriented: do-er, implementer, perfectionist; communication-oriented: co-ordinator, team player, trailblazer; knowledge-oriented: innovator, observer, specialist.

4) FLOW-model: There’s a level of execution that can be found in between quite challenging and comfortable enough. That is the area of optimal performance, aka the zone. In the zone area is possible to present the FLOW-level of execution; as in everything seems to be done really easily, naturally and skillfully. It has been shown that the FLOW-level can be reached also as a group and isn’t this the ideal situation for a team or what? Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi studied in 1961that FLOW would occur when we are: intensely focused on an activity – of our own choosing, that is – neither under nor over challenging, that has – a clear objective, and that receives immediate feedback.

Note to team leader: Use all the Team set-up tools to tailor team members into their perfect roles and then design the responsibilities and duties each role requires. Make sure you’re team layout sets “the players” close enough the zone area and make sure they stay there during the challenge. Measure the ratio of one’s “have-to”, ”able-to” and ”want-to.”




5 Challenge set-up tools

This part of the Tool kit is for getting-to-know the given challenge. It is important to draw the bigger picture and a blurry idea of a vision with some sort of sketch of the desired goal. Every consultant, life coach and personal trainer says that it matters how you start your day. It matters how you start your challenge.

1) The Energy model: Where you guide your focus in a given time can make the difference of success and total failure. This model is only a visual pie chart and acts merely as a reminder. You can attach these charts next to the timeline/agenda/project overview to remind people if the focus should be in the future (e.g. the idea phase), now (e.g. product/service creation phase) or past (assessment and reflection phase).

2) John Whitmore model: This is some sort of backlog list to your established goal of the challenge. When the team has reached a consensus with the goal, you should check whether it correlates with these fourteen requirements: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time phased (S.M.A.R.T), Positively stated, Understood, Relevant, Ethical (P.U.R.E), Challenging, Legal, Environmentally sound, Agreed, Recorded (C.L.E.A.R).

3) The Swiss Cheese: This is your airplane black box system in the 24H process. It is to log and identify mistakes so that they can be learned from. Produce 3 blank papers (“cheese slices”) with headliners: mistake type, level of mistake, factors that contribute. Whenever there shall occur a mistake, write it to the model with the details. Type of mistake includes real mistakes (when wrong process is carried out), black-outs (when part of process is forgotten) and slip-ups (when right process is carried out incorrectly). Level of mistake includes skill-based level, rule-based level and knowledge-based level. Factors that contribute includes people involved (boss, team, colleagues, friends), technical provisions (equipment, workplace), organizational elements (task to be fulfilled, timing) and outside influences (time, economic climate, mood, weather).

The Energy model

The Energy model


6 Challenge start-up tools

The early stage of the process requires a lot of idea creation from the team. Quality stuff is born from the mass and it’s very important that the team ends up with vast amounts of very different ideas and approaches. But this phase is usually always also the trickiest one; how not to stuck in only one perspective and how to control the mass of ideas efficiently?

1) Lotus Blossom template: This is a great visual idea-creation tool that’ll help you explore various points of view. The instruction of use is quite simple: Place the challenge in the middle of the figure. Then define 8 themes that are related to your challenge. Start thinking possible ideas through the 8 themes. Every theme should collect 8 ideas. At the end of the process you’ll have 64 new ways to continue.

2) Project Portfolio matrix: Draw a large matrix with axis x and y and define the parameters you want to use. This tool is for that stage of the process when the team has already produced a ton of ideas and they need to be somehow collected in one place. In 24H the parameters could be for example: x – “Simplicity level to make it happen.” and y – “The craziness of the idea.” Place all ideas to the matrix in proportion to the axis.

3) The BCG Box: This is the tool when it’s time to narrow down the mass of ideas. In this model you’ll test the potential of a single idea by characterizing it upon the four boxes of the matrix. Cash cows have a high percentage of success but a low profile in bringing some sort of “wow-effect” to the table. They are usually worth testing, because they are easy to put in use even though they might not bring dramatic changes to results. Stars have a high percentage of success and a high profile for the wow-effect. They usually require more effort to put in at first, but they can be the ones that sets the game in the end. Question marks have already that high profile, but their percentage of success don’t seem very appealing. With a lot of work or new perspective they could be turned into stars. Dogs are the ones that don’t seem to have any sign of high profile and neither success in front of them. Dogs should be held only if they somehow might have value in further use.

Project Portfolio matrix

Project Portfolio matrix


7 Challenge push-up

When you’ve gone through the narrowing process and managed to find out a few potential prospects to continue with, you can dip in to these tools. Their role is to help you widen your understanding towards the new-found-ideas.

1) The SWOT-analysis: This model has to be one of the simplest models with the tag #business101 on it. The idea is to take one idea at the time and evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of that idea. With this model you can quite easily “see the forest for the trees.” But make no error in hasting it out. Instead use some time with it and deepen the perspectives a little more: how can we emphasize our strengths and compensate for (or cover up) our weaknesses? How can we maximize opportunities and how can we protect ourselves against threats?

2) Thinking hats: This tool is used to add some layers on ideas. The method is to take as a team a few rounds of discussions with one-dimensional approaches: “This is how it works. An idea or a strategy is discussed by the members of the group. During the discussion, all the member adopt on of the six points of view – reflected in the color of the hat. It is important that all the members of the group wear the same color hat at the same time.” These are the characteristics: white hat – analytical, objective thinking, the emphasis is on facts and feasibility; red hat – emotional thinking, subjective feelings, perceptions and opinions; black hat – critical thinking, risk assessment, identifying problems, skepticism, critique; yellow hat – optimistic thinking, speculative best-case scenario; green hat – creative, associative thinking, new ideas, brainstorming, constructive; blue hat – structured thinking, process overview, the big picture.

3) Morphological box and SCAMPER: Morphological box is useful when you’ve got 3-5 ideas that have made it through the earlier stages and you might still want add something or maybe create a combination of these already existing ideas. It works like this: set the parameters that all of the ideas must encounter (e.g. cost, environment and appearance) and sort out configurations/idea. The result will be in this case a two-dimensional table. The next thing is to brainstorm which parameter from which configuration is the most desirable to keep.

During the brainstorming phase you can also use the SCAMPER checklist to reconfigure an existing idea or product. SCAMPER checklist: Substitute? – Substitute people, components, materials; Combine? – Combine with other functions or things; Adapt? – Adapt functions or visual appearance; Modify? – Modify the size, shape, texture or acoustics; Put to other use? – Other, new, combined uses; Eliminate? – Reduce, simplify, eliminate anything superfluous; Reverse? – Use conversely, invert, reverse.

Morphological box

Morphological box


8 Challenge close-up

This stage of the Tool kit is designed to break the possible “tunnel vision” when the team has found the solution from which it starts construct the action plan.

1) The Pareto principle: “The Pareto principle describes the statistical phenomenon whereby a small number of high values contribute more to the total than a high number of low values.” This is a good place to value the final idea’s assumed and/or intended worth: does it belong to the high value 20% or low value 80%? This knowledge will highly effect to the concrete steps that bring the idea into reality.

2) The Long-Tail model: This model shows that the Pareto principle isn’t carved into stone. Actually it can be vice versa especially when it comes to markets in internet. Best-sellers make up to 20% of the market and create high turnovers compared to a single not-mass-marketed product. But niche products will actually be more worthy than best-sellers if you count collectively the whole cash flow the niche market creates. Catch is this: if the solution doesn’t aim for mass markets then you need a lot more different products to match the revenue stream of one best-seller.

3) Law of Diffusion: With this model you can sketch your assumptions on how and where the solution will meet its client base. Law of Diffusion states that when launching a product or service, there are different audiences to be taken into account. At the beginning there are the innovators and early adopters making up to 16% of the customers. They are the ones that are always looking for the newest trends and are willing to experience different things. After they are secured the product will face its first tipping point: how to seduce the early majority on-board? Early majority and then late majority makes 34% of customer each. Bringing the total up to 78% of the customers and they won’t even touch the product before someone else has tried it first. How does the solution your team created stack up against these odds?

Law of Diffusion

Law of Diffusion


9 Constructing step-by-step

1) The Customer path: this is the step by step visual model of the journey the customer goes for the product or service. The path normally starts even before the customer actually realizes this kind of solution exists, because of some kind of marketing tricks. There’s nothing quite extraordinary with this model; the task is to draw every moment where customer and organization offering the solution might meet and what happens in these situations. Quite a standard tool in Tiimiakatemia environment, but mastering this tool needs practice just like everything else.

2) Lean business model canvas: The world is full of different kinds of canvases and as every other model they are designed to simplify the complexity we humans tend to create in our minds. This is kind of the back to basics model after all of the work that has been done. It highlights the basic functions of every successful new venture and also helps to create the frame for a pitch. The Lean canvas collects all the information necessary to one place and gives a visual cross-section of the solution: what problem it solves, how it solves the problem, who are the ones with the problem, where they can find this solution, what is the unfair advantage comparing to rivals offering same kind of solution, etc.

Lean business model canvas

Lean business model canvas


10 Epilogue

This was the 24H Challenge Tool kit: Pro Edition. The goal of these models is to bring variety to your arsenal of innovation techniques and “choices of weapons.” I can’t enough emphasize the meaning of visual presentation. Your thoughts become dramatically clearer, they are more understandable for an outsider and you almost unknowingly improve your presentation skills.

Good luck to you with whatever your challenge might bring forth. As mentioned in the prologue, this Tool kit works also outside of Tiimiakatemia, because of the simple reason that not one of them are created there. They are only applied. That’s why you can also apply them to your organization whenever, wherever. Go ahead and try them! The worst case scenario is that you waste some of your time with a model that didn’t work for you. Best case scenario is that you improve your and your team’s work efficiency by a high mile.

If you’d like to use them, but don’t know how or how you could apply them to suit your organization, contact me! I’d be glad to help you out and point out the direction I would choose to improve your business. There are no better operations than co-operations since everything we do in this world is based on co-work between different people.

You with me?


Olli Leikas

+358 44 5222673


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