Chapter 7

Focus Session

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Focus sessions are workshops we can run with our partners to generate Focus areas. There doesn’t necessarily need to be a prescriptive format for these sessions, however there are some things that might be useful to discuss:

  • Trends both within and outside their sector
  • Startups in market that have the potential to disrupt their business
  • Adjacent markets to their core business

Focus Session Starter Pack

Focus session starter pack

Preparation and Homework

These sessions are a lot more productive when we and our partners come prepared with some thoughts. Some suggested homework for the session:

  1. Ask attendees to find handful of interesting and relevant startups. They can be directly related to their business or sector, but also challenge them to look outside.
  2. Ask attendees to prepare some thoughts on what their internal strategy for the next few years is. The aim here is to find out what it’s important to them, but also to hear where they think things are headed.

Both of these can be shared within the session.

Scene Setting

Set the scene of the session by reminding people:

  • What we want to get out of the session
  • Where they are in the process, and what comes next
  • That this isn’t about ideation or talking about specific startup ideas (use a car park)
  • To think outside of their organisation and role

The Session

As mentioned above, things don’t need to be too prescriptive, but here’s some exercises to guide the conversation:

Startup / Strategy Share

As a warm up, ask attendees to share the startups they found from their homework.

  1. Try limit attendees to 5 minutes
  2. Ask them what the think the impact of that startup is on their own business

Speculation Matrix

Allow attendees to speculate about the future of their industry and wider socio-economic trends.

Trend matrix

  1. Give each attendees a pad of post it notes and a pen
  2. Allow 5 minutes for them to write as many thoughts as possible for each row in the matrix
  3. At the end of the 5 minutes, go around individually and share each thought, placing them on the matrix as you go
  4. Try and group similar thoughts

As a group prioritise each thought. The aim here is to not to necessarily achieve consensus, but to have a snapshot of what the room is thinking.

Trend matrix


  1. Draw a 2 by 2 (of course), and on the X axis have likelihood, and on the Y axis have importance
  2. Go through each thought and ask the room where it belongs
  3. If there’s disagreement, move into the debate area
  4. If there’s agreement, move into the priority area

Positive and Negatives

Using the trend matrix, ask attendees to speculate about the repercussions of those trends, both on society and their industry. Encourage them to get ridiculous. For each one, ask them to think about what opportunities may be created because of it.

  1. Give a couple of minutes for everyone to write their thoughts down
  2. Positive or Negative repercussion, with corresponding opportunity
  3. Go around and let everyone share their thoughts

Next Steps

To drive momentum, don’t leave the workshop without agreeing on some actions to aid in the Discovery phase. Some suggestions:

  • Get everyone to commit to at least one thing they could do to. E.g. facilitating a connection to someone to interview, forwarding on relevant research, etc.
  • Agree a date to share outputs from Discover and initial ideation session (if they want to be involved)
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