Do You Leverage All the Thinking Hats?
So, here is my version of nonprofit thinking hats on whether to invest in a new strategy — the questions you should ask and conversations you should have with your team and your leaders as you come to a decision:
White Hat Thinking
- What is the genesis of the idea?
- What challenge/problem is this idea trying to resolve?
- What is the amount of this investment?
- What is the projected ROI and what data is the projection based upon?
- Has this idea been executed anywhere else and, if yes, what are the facts about success, failure, ROI, etc.
- What is the timeline for this idea? In other words, when will the expenses be needed and when will the ROI be achieved? Is it in the same fiscal year? Does it cross fiscal years?
- What steps will be required to execute the idea?
Red Hat Thinking
- What are the opinions about this idea from the stakeholders?
- What is the level of support from the stakeholder team?
- How is this idea perceived in the industry?
- Are there other priorities perceived to be more important than this one?
- How is innovation perceived within your organization?o If this idea is solving a particular problem/challenge - are there other ways to do it?
Green Hat Thinking
- If this idea is solving a particular problem/challenge – are there other ways to do it?
- Are there ways to scale back (or scale up) the idea/strategy?
Black Hat Thinking
- What are the risks with pushing this idea forward?
- What happens if the revenue (or value) projections are not achieved?
- What levers drive the projections (cost and revenue) and how solid are those levers?
- Based on the process steps required (see white-hat step) to execute the idea, what happens if the steps cannot be done? What's the likelihood of failure?
- Politically, how risky is this decision within the organization? (Is this a big ditch or a small ditch and will you die in it if this fails?)
- What is the definition of failure with this idea?
Yellow Hat Thinking
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.