For strategy, the future is already here. And it is blended.
In March 2020, when the implications of COVID-19 washed over the western world, everyone scrambled to digital. It was digital chaos. Now, five months later, we are seeing digital turn serious.
Trends and market development that we predicted would take 5-6 years, all unfolded in less than five months. For strategists, the implications are profound. The shift from in-person to cloud and live digital collaboration solutions have shifted how millions of people around the world work.
From Canvas to App
Since March, we have:
• Led large scale strategy projects …… 100% digital
• Delivered national transformation programs ….100% digital
• Trained 100’s of global leaders ……100% digital
• Built new, digital platforms for national transformation …..100% digital
• Supported global clients from more than 20 countries …. 100% digital
• Developed brand new tools and solutions…. 100% digital
Today, with a profound newly-earned knowledge under our belts, we are forced to rethink! Rethink how we shape the process of strategy in a 100% digital world. Rethink how to shape next generation digital solutions. Rethink how we shape high-energy digital experiences.
Up to now, we have adapted old ideas (albeit, great ideas) and old ways of working into the digital space. No more. Now, we start with a digital first mindset, and shape the process, solutions, tools and experience from there. As we continue to test, iterate and reshape, we are pushing ourselves to rethink every step of the process, the experience and the user journey.
Implications for strategists
So what are the implications for strategists? I believe we can summarize three main implications that are upon us:
• Master new formats
• Design for digital experiences
• Always, think digital first
Master new formats
PowerPoint and Teams are no longer sufficient. Strategy leaders, facilitators and coaches need to work just as naturally and easily in Mural, Miro, Strategy Tools App and Zoom breakout rooms. These new platforms must become just as comfortable as the old 365 suite.
Design for digital experiences
Most are experienced in designing workshops. No longer valid. Today, we need to learn how to design for digital experiences. We must understand the space, the journey and the experience the user has. Multiply this with 100’s of participants, all logging in with different devices, quality of laptops, with poor connections, bad light and worse speakers, and we understand that a successful outcome requires us to design around these challenges.
Always, think digital first
Post-COVID, these digital ways of working will become a new standard. We will never revert to our 2019-formats. Moving forward, this will push us all to think digital first, and having in-person sessions as a far second. This is going to create entirely new formats, new platforms and new user experiences over the coming months and years.
For the foreseeable future we are ‘in-Covid’. Eventually, this too will come to pass, and we will genuinely get into the ‘post-Covid era’. But experiences and user growth over the past five months have shown us, digital solutions are here to stay. When it comes to designing strategy processes, large-scale change programs, bootcamps and growth programs; the future, my friends, is going to be blended.
The world of strategy is changing. We have known this for more than a decade.
But the people ‘doing’ strategy are changing too. In the Strategy Tools in Action report, we explore some of these people breaking new grounds and helping shape the future of strategy.
Strategy of the future will not be realized in a research paper, will not be written up in a popular management book or presented in a compelling keynote. Sure, we will see all of these. But that is not what is going to create the future.
Instead, the future of strategy will be driven, shaped and created by the people ‘doing the work’, on the ground, in the meetings, in those challenging board meetings or late night CEO 1:1 sessions or large-scale transformation programs with 1000’s of managers, all trying to transform a giant. The future of strategy does not happen in an ivory tower, but in millions of moments of micro-change across companies big and small.
The future of strategy happens when the board of energy giants grasp the scope of the industry shifts they are facing. When tech companies truly understand the implications of building a transformational company. When automotive companies understand that their strategic timeline has been cut by decades and all their assumptions are being proven wrong, and they launch new accelerated strategy sprints to race to the future.
This work is being done, being led by 100’s and 1000’s of people around the world.
Download the Strategy Tools in Action Report to dig into expert views on the future of strategy, and meet 18 consultants actively going to work every day equipped with new tools, new simulations and new ways of working.
If you want to start your own journey with Strategy Tools and build a greater impact with clients and colleagues, register for our intense four-week, hands-on digital workshop Strategy Tools Global Coaches Program starting on 27th September.
Strategy & transformation advisor to companies, innovation clusters, ecosystems and governments around the world.