Every year we see hundreds of projects done for nonprofits by our pro bono consultants through our Service Grant Program. When you review the deliverables, regardless of the type of project, there are clearly projects that are manufactured and those that are inspired.
The manufactured work meets the client’s objectives but lacks that leap of creativity and insight to exceed expectations. It does the right analysis and the process is solid, it just misses the transformational wow.
Having talked to folks from a range of paid professional services firms, even the top firms find this kind of transformational work the expectations and not the norm.
What has emerged is that inspiration typically comes from an unexpected experience. There is an interaction with a client or a client’s client that sparks a new idea or insight. It wasn’t what the team was looking for, but it suddenly makes everything click.
The trick then for a consultancy is to manufacture unexpected experiences for your consultants to increase the odds of insights forming. On the flip side, it requires the client to think about how to expose a third party to an environment and set of stake holders that doesn’t produce expected experiences.
Aaron Hurst is the President and Founder of Taproot Foundation.