Guidelines on How to Set Up a Successful Rethink Session


1. Invite and recruit participants to the session (remember: no deadwood allowed) and make it an honor to be asked.

2. Mention that this is just an exercise, a “think tank.” Imply that nobody will have to do any actual work afterwards, unless they want to).

3. Send out the key rethinking questions a week in advance. Make it look fun, and slightly rebellious.

4. Big question: what about our business model is most ripe for reinvention?

5. Big question #2: what industry assumptions are there today that will go by-by in the next 3 to 5 years?

6. Focus on how you might deliver tangible value surrounding your offerings. Then ponder: how might we rethink distribution? What value added services might we add to differentiate us from the competition?

7. Follow the normal rules of brainstorming: no bad ideas, write ‘em down, go for quantity, not quality, appoint a facilitator, etc.

8. Ask how noted innovators might encourage rethinking in your industry: Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, etc.

9. Start with rethinking the things about your business model that touch your customer. What aggravates them such that, if we could eliminate it, would be a win-win? And: If we did this, what’s in it for the customer? How will the customer benefit?

10. Decide in advance what you’ll do with the ideas after the session. Write them up and report them to the CEO? Store them in a file and return to your piles of work? Tell people that you were only kidding when you said this was just an exercise. Invite people to join you in taking action to change the world.