The title is a little bit of a change to Julie Andrew’s song “Do Re Mi Fa…”
Where am I headed? Where is my team headed? Can I predict it all? Can I easily plan for this? Is there a structured way to do this?
“Rest, Neo, the answers are coming” – Morpheus, in The Matrix.
In this post, I’d like to describe a business innovation tool, G. Altshuller, father of TRIZ, came up with in the 1940s called Ideal Final Result (IFR). Whenever you have a problem or a challenge that you are really stuck with, start with the very end in mind and work backwards. There you go, as simple as that, is the Ideal Final Result.
For example, think of a really common object – say, a washing machine. What is the very end of a washing machine? Let me answer that with a poem.
You are so tiny, I can hardly see you
You are so large, all clothes fit in
You don’t want anything from me
You even know where my dirty linen is
But, wait a filthy detergent minute
You don’t even exist, but seem to do everything
Not an ideal poem, but you get the point. An ideal solution is something that does the function and has no mass, occupies no space, requires no maintenance and involves no labour. If you reread my ramble so far, nowhere have I mentioned that this is practical. Ideal Final Result is a generic, far reaching, idealistic goal that one has to aspire to.
Now, since this tool talks about future, the tool can be adapted to look into the future.
For people who love equations:
IFR = Sum of good stuff (benefits) / Sum of bad stuff (risks, costs, harms)
Ideality is reached when you don’t have any bad stuff and there is only good stuff (Utopia?)
How do you use such an abstract tool?
1. Identify who your suppliers, customers and your customers’ customers are?
Note – in defining your own IFR, we only talk about others’ IFR. Sounds counter intuitive? That’s where the bang for the buck usually is.
2. List out their benefits, costs and harms.
3. Now think about what the exact function is that your customers want.
4. What is the ideal result for that?
5. What is the top harm that is stopping you from achieving that? What are the other barriers in getting there?
6. What is the intermediate IFR to get to the earlier point?
7. What is stopping you from getting to the intermediate IFR?
8. The iteration continues…
You have just listed down what all your elements of vision are and steps to get there and what’s stopping you from getting there.
Have fun visioning an ideal future for yourself and your teams.