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Directors' blog

Insights into the annual IIBA UK strategy meeting

One spring-like afternoon on London's South Bank, a collective of likeminded individuals met in a windowless room. It was a scene that many business analysts would recognise, with a whiteboard at one end of the room, a flip chart, and all manner of technical aids scattered around to be used or discarded in favour of a more analogue approach.

Those likeminded individuals were the full Board of Directors for IIBA UK, less one who had fallen ill. It was an annual occasion to meet face-to-face, set apart from the regular virtual meetings. For a collection of unpaid volunteers it was a big commitment to spend 4 hours away from the day job, but so rewarding to work with such highly capable individuals. It also offered an intriguing insight into the individuals behind the names and the voices. Who would have thought one member of the Board was adept at knitting whilst fully engaged in the proceedings; just think of the productivity gains if we were all so gifted at multi-tasking.

Core purpose: to unite a community of professionals to create better business outcomes.

t was true, we had a very worthy purpose, which framed the strategic objectives that were discussed and refined. As with previous meetings of this type, a key enabler was the Business Model Canvas. This is a framework for developing a business model in a single page view, enabling links to be understood, and gaps in thinking identified and closed. Further information about the Business Model Canvas and how it is used can be found at http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas.

Although we have twice before defined and refined a Business Model Canvas, with new directors arriving on the Board since the last refresh we took the opportunity to start with a blank canvas, validating against the prior version towards the end of the meeting. With fresh insights and high energy levels, the Board members set about defining the Value Proposition, Customer Segments and Key Activities, among a number of other areas within the business model. In total, 300 post-its were used to complete the model, which David Reinhardt described afterwards as the "busiest Business Model Canvas that I have helped to create". The usefulness derives from the prioritisation of the output and its use to confirm and refocus the work that is undertaken by the Board and the many volunteers working for IIBA UK.

Key components from this work will be shared for all to see on the IIBA UK website. In the meantime, here are some of the soundbites from Board members when assessing the achievements of the afternoon:

"intrigued to see what our value proposition was, which has been validated today" - Karl Shepherd

"great that we think alike, build on ideas, and see the same areas of importance" - Tina Schuster

"phenomenal work done, we can see a lot of activities happening consistently, and now need to refocus on the value proposition, validating with engaged volunteers" - Adrian Reed

"proof of the pudding is in the eating" - David Reinhardt

"oops, dropped a stitch" - Tina Schuster