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The Art of Opportunity: How to Build Growth and Ventures Through Strategic Innovation and Visual Thinking



The Art of Opportunity: How to Build Growth and Ventures Through Strategic Innovation and Visual Thinking

Marc Sniukas, Parker Lee, Matt Morasky

ISBN: 978-1-119-15159-3 May 2016 288 Pages

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Innovate your way toward growth using practical, research-backed frameworks

The Art of Opportunity offers a path toward new growth, providing the perspective and methods you need to make innovation happen.  Written by a team of experts with both academic and industry experience—and a client roster composed of some of the world’s leading companies—this book provides you with the necessary tools to help you capture growth instead of chasing it.

The visual frameworks and research-based methodology presented in The Art of Opportunity merge business design thinking and strategic innovation to help you change your growth paradigm.  You’ll learn creative and practical methods for exploring growth opportunities and employ a new approach for identifying what “opportunity” looks like in the first place.  Put aside the old school way of focusing on new products and new markets, to instead applying value creation to find your new opportunity, craft your offering, design your strategy and build new growth ventures.

The changing business ecosystem is increasingly pushing traditional thinking out to pasture. New consumers and the new marketplace are demanding a profound adjustment to the way companies plan and execute growth strategies. This book gives you the tools to create your roadmap toward the new state of growth, and gain invaluable insight into a new way of thinking. 

The Art of Opportunity will help you to:

  • Start looking at business growth from a new perspective
  • Create value for the customers, company and ecosystem
  • Innovate strategically and design new business models
  • Develop a new active business design thinking approach to innovation

Your company’s goal is to grow, and to turn non-customers into customers. The old ways are becoming less tenable and less cost-effective. The Art of Opportunity outlines the new growth paradigm and gives you a solid framework for putting new ideas into practice.



x Foreword

xii Acknowledgments

xv Introduction

xvi Reader’s Journey


5 Traditional Strategic Management

6 Strategic Innovation

8 Where to Play: Find Your Opportunity

8 How to Play: Craft Your Strategy

9 How to Win: Create Value


10 The Five Principles of Business Design Thinking

12 Getting Started



20 Customer and Noncustomer

24 Understand Customer Needs, Expectations, and Choice

29 Identify Barriers to Consumption and Hurdles to Satisfaction

32 Inspiration: Cardinal Health

33 Inspiration: Klinik Hirslanden

34 How to Understand Your Customer and Noncustomer

34 Gather Information

35 Make Observations and Create Themes

35 Transform Findings into Insights

36 Inspiration: Ripple Effect Group

38 Activity: Persona Mapping

40 Activity: Create an Interview Guide

42 Activity: Customer Journey Mapping

44 Activity: Reveal Observation Headlines


48 Resources and Capabilities

50 Inspiration: Caesars Palace

52 Resource Sparks: The Four Dimensions for Mapping and Assessing Resources

54 Methods to Understand Your Firm

56 Activity: Map Your Resources

58 Activity: Map Your Ecosystem


62 Art of Opportunity Growth Types

62 Evolutionary Growth

63 Adjacent Growth

64 Breakthrough Growth

65 The Breakthrough Question


66 Decision Making

67 Kinds of Decision-Making Strategies

68 Decision-Making Process

70 Activity: Create Your Growth Initiative Brief

72 Activity: Explore Your Opportunity Insights

74 Activity: Select Your Opportunity


78 Employ Storytelling and Visual Frameworks

82 Activity: Visualize Your Opportunity



90 Design Your Offering

90 Products

91 Services

91 Customer Experiences

92 Inspiration: Hilti

94 Offering Sparks: 10 Ways to Design a New Offering

106 Activity: Offering Brainstorm

108 Activity: Design Your Offering

111 Shape Your Business Model

112 The Static Perspective

112 The Dynamic Perspective

113 The Strategic Perspective

113 The Operational Perspective

113 Our Definition of a Business Model

114 Business Model Components

114 Activities

116 Resources

117 Sequence

118 Roles

120 Business Model in Practice

122 Inspiration: Eden McCallum

124 Inspiration: Klinik Hirslanden

126 Business Model Sparks: 8 Ways to Design a New Business Model

136 Activity: Visualize Your Current Business Model

138 Activity: Design Your New Business Model

140 Activity: Flip Your Business Model Assumptions

143 Structure Your Revenue Model

144 Revenue Streams

146 Pricing Mechanisms

148 Payment Mechanisms

150 Inspiration: ProSiebenSat.1

152 Inspiration: Fahrenheit 212

153 Inspiration: 826 Valencia

154 Revenue Model Sparks to Consider

156 Activity: Revenue Model Card Sort


161 Creating Value

162 Customer Value

164 Firm Value

166 Ecosystem Value

168 Inspiration Summary: Value Propositions by Company

170 Activity: Set Your Strategy


173 Final Note on Crafting Your Strategy

174 Activity: Visualize Your Strategy



185 The Inception Phase: Validating Your Opportunity And Piloting Your Strategy

186 Three Steps for Validation and Piloting

192 How to Validate Your Pilot

192 Activities for Presenting Your Validation Data

192 In-House Observations

192 Field Observations

193 Simulation

193 Interviews

194 Research

194 Small-Scale Experimentation

194 Additional Resources to Explore

196 Activity: What to Test

198 Activity: How to Test

200 Learning from Your Pilot

200 Achieving Success

201 Encountering Challenges

201 Gaining Insights

202 The Evolution Phase: Adapting Your Strategy

204 Inspiration: ProSiebenSat.1

206 Inspiration: Fahrenheit 212

210 Activity: Start, Stop, Change, Continue

212 Activity: Design Next Steps

214 Visualize Your Growth Plan

216 Activity: Visualize Your Growth Plan

218 The Diffusion Phase: Scaling Up Your Business

220 Operational Challenges

222 Establish Clear Roles and Responsibilities

222 Build an Organizational Culture of Sharing, Listening, Collaboration, Experimentation, and Support

223 Take a Holistic, Systems Approach to Planning and Executing the Scaling-up Process

223 Build a Plan and Employ a Process of Regular and Rigorous Review and Adjustment

223 Create a Clear and Simple Way to Track and Measure Your Progress



229 Foundation of Business Design Thinking

230 Process and Methodology


232 1. Keep a Human-Centered Focus

234 2. Think Visually and Tell Stories

235 3. Work and Co-Create Collaboratively

236 4. Evolve through Active Iteration

237 5. Maintain a Holistic Perspective

238 Inspiration: Oracle

240 Inspiration: ExactTarget


244 Inspiration: Microsoft

254 Notes

256 About the Authors

259 Index


The Art of Opportunity is all about creatively discovering new growth opportunities for your company and crafting a collaborative strategy that will get you there. Not only is the content powerful, the design is stimulating for the eyes as well as the mind. Read this book and start innovating!
Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The New One Minute Manager® and Collaboration Begins with You

The Art of Opportunity will help trigger strategic renewal inside your organization. Creative, inspiring, fresh, and empirically grounded, this playbook to growth is bound to be an executive reference for many years to come.
Deryck J van Rensburg, President Coca-Cola Global Ventures

From the coffee table to the conference table --The Art of Opportunity challenges our traditional business models and mindsets while providing a path and approach to success.
Paul Snyder, Vice President Corporate Responsibility, InterContinental Hotels Group

The Art of Opportunity is not just another book on strategy with some new strategy! Sniukas, Lee and Morasky created a practical tool - a process to design future businesses. It is easy to read and use and spiced with brainstorming sessions you can run with your team. By using the book, I’m willing to bet companies can save fortunes on consultancy. Every business that wants to grow should go through this process.
Domenico Traverso, President Work Function Division at Danfoss Power Solutions

Visually beautiful, The Art of Opportunity is a fresh, new take on design thinking that offers practical tools for strategic innovation.
Mark Polson, Vice President Creativity & Strategic Capability Building | Estée Lauder Companies

Clear, artful, and inspiring. A highly readable, practical, step-by-step guide for anyone who wants to identify, design and launch strategic growth initiatives.
Dave Gray, Founder, XPLANE

This book will dramatically alter both your business and personal life as you experience the very useful approach to innovation and strategy. Get on board and enjoy this inspirational journey.
Dr. Bob Lorber, CEO - The Lorber Kamai Consulting Group
Co-Author:  “Putting The One Minute Manager to Work” and Co-Author: “Doing What Matters”

Refreshingly pragmatic advice for business growth and development. This visualization approach was successful in aligning resources to solve my complex business issue.
David Lary, Vice President Commercial Channel Partner Development and Programs, Print and Personal Systems, Hewlett-Packard

The Art of Opportunity is a concise, richly detailed primer for organizations seeking growth through innovation and change through disruption.
Jay Samit, Bestselling author of Disrupt You! Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation

The Art of Opportunity is not your typical strategy book.  It offers a fresh approach to designing growth strategy with methods that are equally valuable to leaders of established businesses and new ventures.
Jeff Wright, Vice President Strategy & Marketing, Autodesk

The Art of Opportunity is not just a book, but a road map helping to guide companies as they venture down the innovation path in search of new growth opportunities. It offers readers an actionable lens that includes the vital components of storytelling and what it means to take a user-centered approach in the new world of business model design thinking.
Saul Kaplan, Founder and Chief Catalyst Business Innovation Factory, Author The Business Model Innovation Factory

I love this book. Whether you’re pushing an idea inside a large corporation, or creating your next big deal, this book gives you the framework, the tools and the right questions to ask – not just to get you started, but to keep you going. In short, this book tells you how to organize your thinking with clarity, vision, precision and vigor.
Richard Black, Chief Data Architect, Deutsche Bank; former Chief Technology Officer, Bank of England

Strategy made fun! An innovative way of making strategic innovation come alive. This book will bring out the best of both the right and left half of your brain. Great for novice strategists and old hands alike.
Ron Meyer, Professor of Corporate Strategy at Tias Business School, Tilburg University

Opportunities abound. We confront them every day, but they rarely appear as opportunities and do not come with labels to identify them as opportunities.  As a blind person myself, I’m excited that the authors of this book use visualization as a tool to bring opportunities into our businesses and lives.  Read, learn, and imagine.
Jim Stovall, bestselling author of The Ultimate Gift

The Art of Opportunity presents a clear field guide for creating new value for organizations. The methods and stories affirm that the most valuable parts of business are more art than science. Ignore at your own risk.
Michael Graber, Managing Partner of Southern Growth Studio

The Art of Opportunity humanizes business innovation in its approach and accessible, visual presentation. A must-read for entrepreneurs who aim to disrupt industries.
Chip Joyce, CEO & Co-Founder Allied Talent, LLC

 The Art of Opportunity is a beautifully crafted piece of work, so richly illustrated that at times I felt like I was reading a graphic novel. It is packed with fresh and varied case studies, most of which I hadn’t come across before. But more importantly, this book is really useful. Whether you’re an entrepreneur in the first throes of wrestling with a business idea, or a seasoned strategist at a large organization looking for new paths toward new opportunities, this is one of those rare “how to” guides that actually over-delivers on the how tos. My own copy will be well thumbed, for sure.
Mark Barden, co-author of A Beautiful Constraint

The Art of Opportunity is an innovation cocktail with a nice twist of visual thinking that will inspire application and growth.
Jim Wallace, Global Head of Agency Strategy & Management, HP

Innovation-obsessed visual thinkers, unite! This book may be your bible.
Sunni Brown, Chief Human Potentialist, Best-Selling Author of Gamestorming and The Doodle Revolution

A wonderful new tool for those feeling “stuck” with old approaches and business processes that are no longer effective.
Max Thelen, former CEO, Filter

Proven strategies from market innovators? Check. Step-by-step guides to structure your exploration? Check. Innovative visual explanations to engage and inspire? Triple-Check. If you’re a market-maker, don’t miss this book.
Kevin Tate, Co-Founder, StepChange Group

In today’s complex business environment where staying ahead of marketplace changes is critical to survival, the authors have compiled an in-depth exploration of business design thinking and its practical applications to business growth. A book for anyone in business.  It is provocative and challenging.
Michael Graham, Managing Partner Greysage, LLC

How to make something challenging and complex easier to understand, easier to do by breaking it down into manageable and clear tasks. This book gives you very practical steps and advice on building new initiatives.
Stuart Curley, Vice President Enterprise Architecture at Northgate IS

What a bold and compelling book! It offers a thought-provoking new perspective on strategy and some important food for thought on how to discover and seize new opportunities. The strengths of The Art of Opportunity lie in its practical approach to validate strategies. It does not just claim that experimentation is important but shows how you can actually validate a strategy through experimentation. Bravo!
Anja Förster & Peter Kreuz, Bestselling Authors, Entrepreneurs and Angel Investors

In my job I am expected to know this information, but this book presents all necessary information so clearly, it’s a piece of art!  I am convinced that The Art of Opportunity will help thousands of managers gain knowledge much quicker than they could ever have done so in their working life. Well done, and thank you so much for the effort!
Silvester de Keijzer, Board Member Swiss Made Im.

For anyone trying to navigate the complexities of value creation, The Art of Opportunity gets to the heart of how to operationalize entrepreneurship and innovation as the real engines behind strategic growth.
Wayne A. Simmons & Keary L. Crawford, Authors: "GrowthThinking: Building the New Growth Enterprise”

Growing a business is all about identifying and leveraging opportunities. But where to start? How to know where to look? This book not only makes you change your thinking, it gets you moving, too, with novel and practical exercises that provide managers with a customizable pathway to growth.
Professor Helen Perks, University of Nottingham, UK

The Art of Opportunity provides a refreshing view on how to grow performance in an increasingly visual and collaborative world. It is compelling and simple and just what the business landscape needs. Worthy read.
Crystal Fernando, Head of Global Commercial Delivery, InterContinental Hotels Group

A fantastic and beautiful design thinking manifesto for the visual learner in all of us.
Matt Moog, CEO of PowerReviews

Sniukas, Lee, and Morasky have crafted a beautiful, full-color journey to innovation that takes you from beginning to end. The engaging visuals draw you in to understand the approach, while the simple step-by-step instructions get the thoughts out of your head and ready to execute. A must read for anyone looking to tackle an opportunity they have spotted.
C. Todd Lombardo, Chief Design Strategist, Fresh Tilled Soil

The Art of Opportunity is a key innovation masterpiece that is going to help me with our work with intrapreneurs at the largest entertainment media companies in the world.
John Huffman IV, Founder, HUFFMAN CO

Step by step, The Art of the Opportunity encourages a fresh, visual look at how to deliver new value to customers.
Doug Van Aman, Principal, Van Aman Communications

The Art of Opportunity blazes a welcome trail to successful business growth.
Kevin O’Keefe, business leader and bestselling author of The Average American

Impactful and practical. An excellent guide for strategic reflection and action.
Omar Baig, Head of Digital, Knowledge and Information Service. OECD

The Art Of Opportunity presents compelling evidence, based on extensive experience, for the application of business design thinking by combining strategic innovation with inspiration from others. Their pragmatic approach offers existing businesses a framework to innovate or adapt in complex changing environments. Loved it!
Anne Bartlett-Bragg, PhD, Managing Director, Ripple Effect Group

Being, Knowing and Doing are must-have disciplines for any team to succeed.This book helps guide teams with crisp insights and methodologies to rapidly frame innovation projects.
Ed Soo Hoo, Industry Fellow At UC Berkeley Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology

In working with over 150 SMEs in the last 12 months, I have found they want business support that is practical, visual, and guides them to make the right decisions by inspiration and example. The Art of Opportunity does this brilliantly. It brings key visual tools into one place and shows you how to use and implement them at every stage for your business’ success. Excellent book, a must buy.
Mark Copsey, Director RedKite Innovations, growth coach and lecturer Leeds Beckett University

A clear and practical approach to uncovering growth opportunities hidden within your business and how to make them a reality and driving the top line.
Robert McKinnon, Former SVP and Head of PMO, InterContinental Hotels Group

Read this book with a marker pen in hand, because you'll want to start creating your next strategic innovation straight away. This practical guidebook to business design thinking will help you make the most of your customer opportunities.
Simon Terry, Chairman, Change Agents Worldwide

Whilst managing Apple Education in EMEA, we discovered the power and resilience of visual communications, giving us the ability to translate complex digital engagement into simple, informative and meaningful illustrations and graphics. Today, The Art of Opportunity helps move this work forward another important stage.
Alan Greenberg, former Apple Director Education EMEA, then Asia. Currently Advisory Board of 8GT Fund

Sniukas, Lee, and Morasky have artfully made complicated strategic design principles accessible to anyone looking to grow or build a business. The Art of Opportunity is a visually engaging guidebook that helps businesses of any size tap into their creativity to develop effective business strategies.
Catherine Palmer, Senior Industry Marketing Manager, Autodesk, Inc.

The Art of Opportunity clearly details how to achieve success through proven strategic innovation and visual thinking methodologies. The authors expertly plot a path along the journey based on years of experience in helping companies realize significant growth. Let great things happen to you by reading this book.
K.C. Teis, Vice President of Experience Design, Rackspace

It’s not often a series of artful lateral choices are presented so elegantly that they can be pragmatically implemented like science. A must read for leaders looking to innovate with their existing teams to create new value.
Shayne Smart – Founder Geneva Conventions in Pictures

In a new era you can't stop to innovate.
Andres Pacheco, Head of Training, Ripley Enterprises Chile

Practical. Transformative. Actionable. Leaders should equip their staff with this innovative guide. Follow the instructions. Your business will grow.
Michael Neil, Chief Marketing Officer, Asset-Map

An easy-to-follow blueprint for customer-centric innovation to drive business growth.  Had I had this book 10 years ago, I'd have saved tons on agency fees!
Heinz Waelchli, Chief Customer Officer at SnapAV

A guidebook for strategic innovation: where to play, how to play and how to win.
Lars Crama, Chief Commercial Officer, InnoLeaps

Sniukas, Lee and Morasky provide a powerful framework that encourages and empowers readers to apply their own creativity to developing their growth strategy
Robert Shepherd, Chief Development Officer and SVP Development, Design & Openings - Europe, InterContinental Hotels Group

Move over Michael Porter - The Art of Opportunity presents an innovative new approach for strategic business thinking, and how to master the art of business design.
Jed Singer - President, Socialight Media

A fresh approach to business design thinking that is engaging to read and easy to apply.
Claire Francois, Technology Marketing Advisor, Shell

The Art of Opportunity combines great insight, industry best practice, and practical exercises in a way that’s constantly engaging and frequently surprising.
Mark Baker

“The Art of Opportunity” sheds a long overdue light on areas of business that are indeed more art than science. Each page offers practical insights needed to seize opportunities and bring ideas to fruition.
Louis Patler, President, The B.I.T. Group, Author, Make Your Own Waves / The Surfer’s Rules for Innovators and Entrepreneurs

 In the world powered by innovation, “The Art of Opportunity” provides a pragmatic approach to focus your team and turn their thoughts and ideas into achievable business success. The approach presented in the book, supported by great exercises makes it a hugely helpful tool to deliver the opportunity that is always within the reach of your organisation, but sometimes feels too far away. We all strive to be successful; “The Art of Opportunity” helps us to truly become successful.
Rafal Tomczyk, General Aviation Transformation Manager - Strategy Implementation

Based on what we learned in “The Art of Opportunity,” our agency has changed our entire approach for attracting new clients. We find more opportunities by focusing on the needs of the customer—we’re human centered now, that sets us apart and we’re confident we’ll win more often now.
Jeff Chesebro, President, Princeton Partners

One of the most comprehensive looks at the powerful integration of innovation strategy and business design to uncover new opportunities and commercialize existing ones.
Soon Yu, Global Vice President of Innovation, VF Corporation

The Art of Opportunity is stunning, insightful, practical and takes the powerful concepts behind design thinking and explains them with tools, case studies, and real-world examples.  The future of business requires that we all embrace art and analytics, information and intuition, planning and empathy – The Art of Opportunity shows us the way.   
David Howitt, Founder & CEO of Meriwether Group, Author of "Heed Your Call"