2020 has proven to be a different year than anyone expected. In this blog post, we would like to reflect back on 2020 and share some big ideas for 2021.
Looking back at 2020, three things stand out to us:
#1 The growth of the global community
2020 has seen a massive uptick in the global community. From new users, new partners, new regions, new partners, and new Master Trainers, the learning, development, and evolution of the community has been the single most important aspect for us in 2020.
#2 The prolific work of the extended team
3 digital strategy simulations, 5 strategy reports, the first 20+ programs in the digital academy, and 50+ new tools and canvases are just some of the output of the extended team in 2020.
Personally, I see the 50+ new tools and canvases, across five new series, as the most important part of this output. Not because the tools by themselves are important, but the tools serve as the basis for all other development work that may happen on top of them. So 50+ new tools and canvases are not important by themselves, but by becoming platforms for ideas, programs, simulations, and solutions into the future.
#3 The accelerated adaptation to digital
When we launched the Strategy Tools Digital Academy in March, we had limited expectations for the uptake. Today, nine months later, we simply can not imagine moving forward without the Digital Academy as a key pillar to our strategy.
The interest in and uptake of the digital academy, simulations, and solutions has proven hugely successful for 2020 and a trend expect to grow exponentially into 2021. For all our partners and members of the community, we should all ask ourselves, ‘’how can we help our users and clients go digital even faster in 2021?’
Selected highlights from 2020
First-ever Strategy Tools Master Trainer.
Way back in January, the first group of participants traveled to Norway for the Strategy Tools Master Trainer Program. Flying in from Brazil, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, Germany, UK, Norway; this advanced-level group allowed us to really dig into the deep end of advanced methodologies and case studies.
Looking back now, some 11 months later, there is little doubt that this advanced five-day event was a paradigm shift in how we understand, connect and collaborate with the community. To all the participants in our premier program, thank you for joining. Looking ahead into 2022 (yes, 2022), we expect to run a large number of Master Trainer Programs, ideally held at different locations around the world, in close collaboration with our partners and Master Trainers around the globe.
February saw us do extensive work with the Swiss ecosystem.
Thanks to our friends at Digital Switzerland and our various partners like Daniel Harbach, Maarten Korz, and Mikko Mannila, we were able to engage deeply with a wide range of accelerators, early-stage angels and VCs, incubators, and national innovation agency.
These intense days spent in Zurich and St. Gallen were the last travel we got a chance to do before the lock-down set in. Thankfully, we are now able to deliver the same work and the same content in our 100% digital format.
Launching the BTC – Building the Transformational Company report.
In early March we launched the BTC – Building the Transformational Company report. In close collaboration with 25+ partners around the world, the BTC report, the new toolkit (15 unique tools in total), BTC training program and corporate solutions starting to find their way to market.
In the months that followed, we have completed six full-scale BTC online training & certification programs. We have worked with business school professors, consultants, national innovation agencies, large conglomerates and small SMBs to help them understand a new framework for transformation.
The ideas and tools are now being used in executive education, corporate turnarounds, consulting projects, MBA programs, and a wide range of corporate strategy & innovation teams around the world.
While 2020 was the launch year, we expect to really start seeing the long-term impact of this work around 2022 – 2024.
Accelerating digital solutions
Early May kicked off the development of ‘digital solutions’. It would take us a few months of piloting and testing, but by late summer the entire business area Strategy Tools Solutions officially saw the light of day.
Looking into 2021, Strategy Tools Solutions is expected to be our #1 revenue driver, as we are now able to deliver large-scale programs – 100% digitally to clients and partners globally.
As a part of the development process, we have had the chance to work with Strategy Teams in Brazil, Innovation Clusters in Mexico, top global business schools, and world-class strategy teams in Mexico.
The Export Series
Through the early summer, we got a chance to dig into questions on digital exports and international growth. This led to the brand new ‘Export Series’. This entire series has since gone into the Norwegian Innovation Agency, where we are now slowly testing out the ideas and tools with selected leaders.
A significant highlight for the entire team and community was the publication of the Strategy Tools in Action report. This community-written report gave unique insights and reflections on how global leaders, consultants, and clients are using Strategy Tools in Action with their clients, organizations, and students. Starting out as a small, 10-page outline, the report grew to 149 pages, translated into three languages, and downloaded by readers worldwide.
In Brazil, our Country Director Tiago Grandi published an excellent report and series of webinars, studying the Brazilian Strategy Officer. His work led to numerous new insights on the critical, yet under-developed role the Brazilian strategy officer plays.
Running 100% digital accelerator Programs
Working closely with clients like Katapult Ocean, FHV, Northwestern, and MIT, we were able to transition 100’s users onto the new, digital simulation platforms. Starting in October and running into late December, the digital simulations went into overdrive as more and more accelerators and educators realized the impact digital strategy simulations can create.
As the year drew to a close, three of our partners, Ole Sverre (Norway), Hege (Norway), and Enrico (Belgium) raced to complete the Transform! digital simulation certification. With an intense, digital training program closing out just before Christmas, the trio managed to complete an advanced program, taking them into the deep and complex aspects of running Transform! digital. It will be very exciting to follow their development and mastery in 2021 as they help 100’s of leaders go online with Transform! digital.
Personally, the last days leading up to the new year has been spent reading up on a broad number of casework, reports, and reflection memos in the Digital Academy. From Switzerland, Israel, Mexico, Denmark, Germany, and the Middle East, high-quality project work and deep personal reflections both inspire us and challenge us to do even better work into 2021.
Looking into 2021
As we close out 2020 and look into 2021 there are three things front and center for Strategy Tools and the global community.
#1 BOOOST ’21
The first week of January we host the first-ever Strategy Tools Partner Summit, BOOOST ’21.
Sharing best practices, developing new case studies, leading global speakers and engaging with the community. All in the spirit of sharing, learning and co-creating better ways of working on strategy.
#2 INVESTING IN DIGITAL
Digital to us is not only about bits, bytes, and code. It is also very much about how people use technology. How leaders can create transformation – at scale – through technology. How smart people can learn faster through new, engaging digital programs. How accelerators can rethink everything by going 100% digital – and realize it may even be a better program by doing so.
Code matters. But user journey, smart design, and easy-to-use digital solutions matter even more.
In 2021 we will expand our investments in design, UX, and usability. We will launch SUCO – Scale Up Coach as our 2021 flagship Program. We will launch MICRO – our series of micro-courses (1 tool, 1 guidebook, 20 minutes) and we will expand our investments in the platform and app.
Expect to see a lot of resources going into digital in 2021.
#3 FROM SMALL STEPS TO LARGE SOLUTIONS
2020 proved that any company, any project, anywhere can go digital.
Yet, many organizations only took a few baby steps. Expect this to change. As we get into 2021, we expect to see a lot of leaders and buyers realize they need to accelerate the digital transformation and shift from ‘doing small digital projects’ to truly embracing digital. Large scale transformation programs, designed for 100% digital. Global accelerator programs, designed for 100% digital. Large corporate innovation projects, designed for 100% digital.
We see these changes as incredibly exciting and huge growth opportunities.
We look forward to exploring, learning, developing with you into 2021 and beyond.
Wishing you a happy new year and a safe and successful 2021.