Outside-in Thinking is a great place to start with any project. It helps you consider all the key stakeholders that can help you break silos and drive value.

Use this to...

  • Create space to consider the bigger picture.
  • Highlight additional issues that might affect your project/hypothesis.
  • Surface gaps in your understanding.

Try this...

Why wait for the meeting? Conversations about outside influences can start anywhere – over lunch, at the water cooler, or even by the printer.

Think big. Outside influences come at us from all angles, so think about social issues, technological challenges, political climate and environmental concerns.

Are you sure? Apply some ‘What If’ Analysis to the influences you’ve rejected. They may throw up a completely new chain of thought.

Watch out for...

Don’t leave it too late. The earlier you start thinking from the outside-in the more likely you are to catch potential obstacles. Your decisions and actions will be stronger for it.


  1. Align to the business theme. Make sure everyone is on the same page.
  2. List the external issues that might affect this theme but that you cannot influence.
    Do not let the organizational chart constrain your thinking.
  3. Make another list of the things you might be able influence.
    What is within your network that can add value?
  4. Scrap any issue that, on reflection, you have no prospect of changing.
    Is this relevant to the business theme?
  5. What do you need to know? Clarify the questions to data that will have the biggest impact on the discovery theme and capture them.

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