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Harshal Kubavat, INOVIS' Head of Strategic Consulting, Global Pharma & Life Sciences, shares three critical questions we ask when planning competitive workshops.


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Competitive workshops are fundamental in both shaping and driving strategies within organizations.

Whether you're relatively new to the space or a seasoned veteran, I wanted to share some of our principles at INOVIS on how we help plan and execute these high impact and high reward activities.

My name is Harshal Kubavat, I'm the Head of Strategic Consulting at INOVIS Life Sciences and I primarily support and facilitate many of the workshops and competitive activities we run for our clients.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to thinking about preparing a competitive workshop. You need to think about what you have, the needs of your team and the end goal. What do you want to do with the information, ideas, insights you generate within a workshop?

Once you know these, you're able to move on and start thinking really hard about planning and preparing that workshop.

The main goal here is to make it engaging, dynamic and appropriate for you to discuss or figure out the key elements of the competitive environment. And ultimately, what you're going to do about it.

So there are three key things that we would ask our clients when we start planning a workshop.

The first one is being really critical in identifying "Why is it that you think or want to run a competitive workshop"? Has something changed in your environment? Has it been a request from the higher broader team? Or is it that you're trying to reinforce a certain point?

The second question you need to ask yourself is "What am I trying to achieve in running this competitive workshop"? What is it that I want the team to do differently or start thinking about in terms of the competitive environment? There's no one right or wrong answer when it comes to this, but it's very important to think about this holistically and really be critical on yourself and the structure and framework that you're thinking about delivering and developing so that you get the maximum return on the time you put into it.

The third thing you need to ask yourself is "How am I going to use the output of this workshop"? Not "What is it going to do" and not "How am I going to get there"? But really, critically, how am I going to use the output? We're all used to generating action plans, priority lists, and reports, which go some way. But, critically thinking about the outcomes of your workshop can help you plan the most appropriate exercises and activities so that you get to that end goal.

We sometimes do smaller, core stakeholder team workshops which we call "Rapid Immersion Workshops" where we run certain activities or scenarios, for a couple of hours a few times during a year.

On the other side of the spectrum, we do much larger and more traditional workshops which are often simulations of wargames where we bring a huge number of people together, normally over the course of a day or two.

Coming out of a workshop, you'd expect the participants to have a different way of thinking about the competition and the external world around them. Maybe you're reinforcing the need to be competitive, or highlighting some key areas in which your organization, franchise or brand, needs to respond, or pre-empt some of those signals that you've seen within the workshop, and learnings and observations that you've made.

At INOVIS we work with our clients in developing and delivering these types of competitive activities and simulations. Before you get started, think critically about the drivers and motivations behind your needs so that you can develop an engaging and dynamic agenda and set of exercises that will help you and your teams get to that end goal.

If you need any help along the way feel free to reach out to INOVIS and the team and we'd be happy to discuss your needs further.

thank you for your interest in INOVIS Competitor Intelligence and Strategy