For the past month, the Lab has been working with NASA’s Space Biology program, a unit that is spread across three centers — Ames, Johnson and Kennedy — and NASA headquarters in Washington. The program faces some complex challenges. It is a relatively small program within the NASA portfolio that focuses on exploring how spaceflight affects biological systems. Despite its focus on basic research, the program is also responsible for some significant developments, such as crew members in the International Space Station growing leafy vegetables to eat (the so-called Veggie experiment).
Developing a strategy for Space Biology as it moves forward involves unwinding a set of interconnected issues. In agile strategy, we handle this complexity through designing framing questions. Framing questions embed hypotheses about opportunities that could emerge through linking and leveraging an organization’s assets. Good framing questions are both aspirational and practical; focused and open-ended. They are both authentic to an organization’s current situation and an invitation to explore the “adjacent possible” (the Blue Oceans of new possibilities).
We designed three “strategy sprints” over one and a half days to explore the framing questions. These questions invite a deeper exploration of complex issues. By following the disciplines of Strategic Doing, we are able to guide this exploration in such a way that a coherent strategy begins to emerge in a matter of hours. We’ll keep you up to date with our progress.
Next steps: We are heading back out to California March 22-23 to conduct another strategy workshop.
The Director of the Lab at UNA and co-author of Strategic Doing: 10 Skills for Agile Leadership, Ed’s work has focused on developing new models of strategy specifically designed to accelerate complex collaboration in networks and open innovation. He is the original developer of Strategic Doing.