Find A Pony

Meme – Find a Pony

When selling new ideas, find a pony for everyone in the room. 

The Business Innovation Architects needs to make sure stakeholders have a compelling reason to support the project.  Even if there are good enterprise wide business reasons for change, people inevitably make decisions, invest the time, and lend support to things that make sense for them.  

People act in their own self interest. There is nothing wrong with this … it is simply the way the works.  Expect water to flow downhill.  

This means that BIA’s have to be insightful and creative in the discovery of appropriate rewards for support.  Potential “ponies” include:

  • Solve a Problem – solve an outstanding business problem.  Fix something that the stakeholder perceives as broken.
  • Fill a Gap – point out a gap between teams.  Make them realize it will be additional work for them.  Fill the gap.
  • Absorb Communications – volunteer to act as the intermediary with other groups the stakeholder doesn’t want to deal with.
  • Offer Fame – enable the stakeholder to gain glory and success by championing the idea.  Offer the gift of making someone cutting edge.
  • Share Work – take on tasks and risks from overworked stakeholders
  • Cut Costs – makes something cheaper
  • Simplify – make something easier and less time consuming
  • Be Better or Bigger – makes something better  or allow it to be bigger and more widely used
  • Pay Attention – be a person who gives credibility and respect to neglected business areas
  • Have Answers – make meetings go more quickly.  Get things done by knowing more and having answers when others thrash about.

Note that the “Pony” may be something business related (solve a problem, fill a gap), job related (shared work load, faster meetings), or personal (fame, respect).  The goal here is not to make a formal business case.  The goal is to make it worthwhile for real life people to join your adventure.


Give everyone a reason to work with you. 

Good Reads: 

Brainstorming Questions

  • In this room, who needs to support our work?  (Think broadly)
  • Who already has a pony in the deal?   Do they realize they have a pony?  Can we cement that realization?
  • Are there problems we can solve?  Gaps we can fill?  Do the stakeholders realize that they have a problem or gap?  Will we get credit in their minds for solving this?  Will the realize they got a pony?
  • What does each person need / desire?  What do we have to give?
  • Have any of our previous ponies lost their appeal? Do we need to find a new reason for the stakeholder to support the idea?
  • Are people happy?  Do they feel like they have been treated fairly and honestly?

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