Reframing Matrix In A Nutshell

The reframing matrix was first described by author Michael Morgan in his book Creating Workforce Innovation: Turning Individual Creativity into Organizational Innovation. A reframing matrix allows businesses to creatively assess problems from a variety of perspectives.

Understanding a reframing matrix

Morgan’s approach to problem-solving recognizes that people are likely to approach problem solving based on their unique skills and life experience. As a result, the approach encourages individuals to imagine themselves as other people and consider multiple perspectives or solutions.

Creating a reframing matrix

To help clarify the process of considering alternative perspectives, a matrix with four squares should be created. In the middle of the matrix, place a problem (or question) that needs to be answered or solved.

Then, examine the problem from four key perspectives. Each perspective occupies one of the four boxes.

  1. Product/program perspective. Are there issues with the product or service being delivered? Is the product technically sound? Has it been delivered elsewhere? For example, a new product experiencing poor sales may have issues with price, attractiveness, or utility.
  2. Planning perspective. Are plans relating to business operations or communication satisfactory? Has the correct marketing strategy been chosen? Has the sales strategy been used in the right market? What issues may impede progress or compromise deadlines and sales targets?
  3. Potential perspective. Is the problem or solution scalable or replicable? How could sales be increased to address a problem? Is there a capacity for current production volume to be increased to meet production targets?
  4. People perspective. What do key stakeholders and staff think about the problem? Alternatively, why are customers leaving bad reviews or choosing not to buy a product? What are their perceptions?

Strengths of the reframing matrix

There is inherent strength in considering a range of perspectives – particularly when those perspectives are well-informed. 

For example, a consumer who has had reliability issues with their new car is well-informed from the perspective of people. On the other hand, a lawyer with detailed knowledge of consumer law may see the problem as one relating to warranty disputes and protracted court battles.

In any case, broad consultation is effective in avoiding cognitive biases that restrict creativity and innovation. This biased form of decision making is often based on emotion and has no basis in fact or logic.

The reframing matrix also facilities buy-in from key stakeholders because each feels that their opinions are heard and respected. In the long run, creative and holistic decision making has positive implications for business growth and success.

Key takeaways

  • A reframing matrix helps businesses identify effective solutions by considering a range of perspectives.
  • A reframing matrix places the core problem or question at the center of a matrix consisting of four boxes. Each box represents one of four key perspectives: product, planning, potential, and people.
  • A reframing matrix facilitates collaborative and informed decision making because all relevant, informed stakeholders take part. This helps avoid cognitive biases in decision making that have the potential to negatively impact a business.

Other Business Matrices

SFA Matrix

The SFA matrix is a framework that helps businesses evaluate strategic options. Gerry Johnson and Kevan Scholes created the SFA matrix to help businesses evaluate their strategic options before committing. Evaluation of strategic opportunities is performed by considering three criteria that make up the SFA acronym: suitability, feasibility, and acceptability.

Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix

The Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix is a strategy deployment tool that helps businesses achieve goals over the short and long term. Hoshin Kanri is a method that seeks to bridge the gap between strategy and execution. Strategic objectives are clearly defined and the goals of every level of the organization are aligned. With everyone moving in the same direction, process coordination and decision-making ability are strengthened.

Kepner-Tregoe Matrix

The Kepner-Tregoe matrix was created by management consultants Charles H. Kepner and Benjamin B. Tregoe in the 1960s, developed to help businesses navigate the decisions they make daily, the Kepner-Tregoe matrix is a root cause analysis used in organizational decision making.

Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a tool that helps businesses prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance, named after Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States from 1953 to 1961, the matrix helps businesses and individuals differentiate between the urgent and important to prevent urgent things (seemingly useful in the short-term) cannibalize important things (critical for long-term success).

Decision Matrix

A decision matrix is a decision-making tool that evaluates and prioritizes a list of options. Decision matrices are useful when: A list of options must be trimmed to a single choice. A decision must be made based on several criteria. A list of criteria has been made manageable through the process of elimination.

Action Priority Matrix

An action priority matrix is a productivity tool that helps businesses prioritize certain tasks and objectives over others. The matrix itself is represented by four quadrants on a typical cartesian graph. These quadrants are plotted against the effort required to complete a task (x-axis) and the impact (benefit) that each task brings once completed (y-axis). This matrix helps assess what projects need to be undertaken and the potential impact for each.

TOWS Matrix

The TOWS Matrix is an acronym for Threats, Opportunities, Weaknesses, and Strengths. The matrix is a variation on the SWOT Analysis, and it seeks to address criticisms of the SWOT Analysis regarding its inability to show relationships between the various categories.

GE McKinsey Matrix

The GE McKinsey Matrix was developed in the 1970s after General Electric asked its consultant McKinsey to develop a portfolio management model. This matrix is a strategy tool that provides guidance on how a corporation should prioritize its investments among its business units, leading to three possible scenarios: invest, protect, harvest, and divest.

BCG Matrix

In the 1970s, Bruce D. Henderson, founder of the Boston Consulting Group, came up with The Product Portfolio (aka BCG Matrix, or Growth-share Matrix), which would look at a successful business product portfolio based on potential growth and market shares. It divided products into four main categories: cash cows, pets (dogs), question marks, and stars.

Growth Matrix

In the FourWeekMBA growth matrix, you can apply growth for existing customers by tackling the same problems (gain mode). Or by tackling existing problems, for new customers (expand mode). Or by tackling new problems for existing customers (extend mode). Or perhaps by tackling whole new problems for new customers (reinvent mode).

Ansoff Matrix

You can use the Ansoff Matrix as a strategic framework to understand what growth strategy is more suited based on the market context. Developed by mathematician and business manager Igor Ansoff, it assumes a growth strategy can be derived by whether the market is new or existing, and the product is new or existing.

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