100H Challenge:
Solving the Pains of SMEs

Highlights and Key Takeaways from GrowthLab #42

05 NOVEMBER 2020

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Today’s Innovation Thursday was a unique one – instead of tackling the business challenges of others in the community, Ignite House brought its own challenge to the community using what we call a 100H Challenge, a practice Ignite and our partners have used time and time again to sprint solutions to launch. The session was led by Ignite’s leading figures, Andre Yap, Miguel Aranaz, and Aileen Gutierrez – they asked our community to share their insights on a current breakthrough Ignite is working on: finding innovative solutions for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) struggling to cope in the pandemic. There is a lot of pain in the SME markets right now because they constitute a majority of the Philippine economy. We were graced with the participation and experiences of several SME owners and several employees of an SME workforce. All in all, this 100H Challenge was really fruitful in shaping Ignite’s path towards its next level breakthrough because in the spirit of our community of practice, Ignite got so much insight and perspective from people in our community. 

Like always, we used the 100H Launchpad Hurdles to bring out the valuable insights from today’s session. Targeting specific hurdles allows you to identify the issues that you need to address by providing more clarity and focus on the whats, the hows, and the whys that are relevant in reaching your next level breakthrough. Think about your own business case, think about the struggles you and your team are having, and see which of these hurdles best apply to you. No matter how challenging your own business cases may be and even if you might not know what to do, these hurdles can steer you in the right direction.

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Looking at the current state of SMEs (workforce, owners, HR leaders), what opportunities for innovation and change would greatly benefit both the employees and the business owner?


The focus today is on finding target opportunities. What can we explore around this? We must understand our stakeholders and the opportunities that will impact their lives. The point of the exercises that we will be undertaking today is not to get the right answer, but to get a peer exchange where we can work with everyone’s ideas and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each idea. Through this exchange, the architecture of the solution will reveal itself and we can figure out how to move forward based on what feels right and what feels wrong and for what reasons.



As you engage with people and as you get to know them better, the architecture of the solution to their problems also emerges.


I can better understand the pains, needs, & wants of stakeholders because of these target opportunity hurdles. This is what I will do: I’ll have conversations with at least 2-3 SME owners to get to know them better through their real stories. 


Who is my stakeholder – really? We need to be deeply connected with the pains of the people we want to serve to have the genuine desire to help them. I wasn’t in a space where I was able to come to terms with my truth at this time. A solo workout is an honest-to-goodness method of discernment, which has to be taken seriously to launch real innovation.


If you do not practice empathy and compassion in the SME, then you cannot expect your workforce to work with the same empathy and compassion as you do. If you don’t understand and connect with the problems, then whatever solutions you invest in will miss the mark. That’s why we spend this time to make people care, and in caring, be able to connect to the problems that we need to solve.


Faith’s story got my attention and I got her pain point – with Faith, I valued hearing the story directly from the stakeholder that was affected. This exercise is really about getting to know the stakeholder, knowing their pains, which generates empathy. This experience of hearing these concerns from the person experiencing this makes me think i want to help Faith and many people like Faith. 


Hearing different stories and answering the hurdles over and over again, helps me practice where to begin a conversation with a stakeholder and how to ask them the right questions.



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