Like any strategic exercise, this process starts with thoughtfully
exploring key questions, including:

      • What is our brand about, and what makes it different from all of our competitors?
      • • What would the ideal guest experience be if we had no limitations and could do anything?
      • • How do we create in-store experiences that change how our customers behave and the way people think about our brand?
      • • How and why is this something that only our brand could do?How is it "ownable"?
      • • How do all of the individual customer touch points reinforce the ideal experience?
      • • How can our entire constellation of operational and marketing tactics support each other?

While a brief article can't cover all of the details of the approach and process, it's worth highlighting some key considerations.

Plan the Process. Solving any big problem or making any big change involves a series of steps, each with its own purpose, approach and goal. To keep you on strategy, begin with a very clear purpose statement describing your end goal. This innovation process is iterative, starting with broad exploration and eventually leading to refinement of optimal ideas. Plan for these steps, including milestone meetings and work sessions, throughout the process.

Create Broad Internal Participation. This is a commonly overlooked, but incredibly valuable, aspect of this kind of project's success. Involving individuals from a broad set of functions within your organization has numerous benefits. It allows you to leverage subject matter expertise from varying disciplines, which enables richer, more informed conversations. This also inherently breaks down internal silos, vets potential implementation barriers early on and helps to create a unified vision and common sense of purpose. You may be surprised that Jim from ops is way more creative than you ever imagined.

Push for New, Big Ideas. The only way to get big ideas is to push for
completely new ones. At first, some of the ideas may seem absurd, but you need to keep them on the table. Throughout the process, you refine what once seemed like an unrealistic idea into a realistic one; you might discover it contains a useful nugget that leads to another workable idea.

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