Mental Gymnastics — TL;DR

Mind ramblings that occurred upon a little reflection of the different brain bending sessions.

Session 1

Understanding of each other and of the different perspectives create insight. It seems that many of the organisations that we work for whether it be in Travel, Beverage, Energy, Design or an Agency, struggle with the ability to understand digital strategy. Some of the limitations and challenges identified included; the gap between creative ideas, organisational structures and the need for commercial results.

Session 2 — Networked Society

This session was all about challenging the notion of a “Digital Strategy” and how this term has become dated and limiting to organisations especially given the “Networked” society in which business and individuals operate.

A more fitting take on Digital Strategy, might follow Olle’s take on it:

A well informed — non-protective and forward-leaning — thinking and processes that work, and solve challenges, in a networked reality.

The key part of this session was to understand the opportunities that can be found by approaching some of the current commercial challenges of organisations through a “networked” approach to digital.

A Networked Strategy, combined with a data driven approach, will allow companies to evolve from a more ‘linear’ digital strategy to a more disruptive position i.e. Netflix & logistics platform Uber.


Session 3 — Disruptive Change

Where Olle planted the seeds of a Networked approach to strategy, Paul pushed our understanding of how companies should view themselves and their customers.

Published with permission from Paul McCabe @Paulmccabester

Armed with some nice anecdotes, Paul highlighted how harmful beliefs are creating organisational limitations and aversion to ‘disruptive change’. These limitations stop companies, and their marketing departments, from delivering value creation through a better understanding of the customers desired outcome and the market space.

Which Paul defines as:

Value Creation — involves shifting focus from product (& Brand) to desired outcome.

Many of the companies highlighted (Kodak, Blockbuster, Nokia,…) all counted many seemingly intelligent people in their stables, but due to “harmful beliefs” were blind-sided by startups from outside their peripheral vision and linear mindset.

The Non-Linear Mindset, according to Paul, includes a shift from OS1 to OS2 thinking, meaning that brands must shift their mindset from a linear — Product Centric approach to where the ‘product’ is seen as the desired output. In comparison the Non-Linear or User centric approach creates value by allowing users to achieve their ‘desired outcome’, not just a ‘sale’ or transaction.

Great example:

To move help users achieve their desired outcome, companies need to explore the ‘market space’ and not just their industry space. This is akin to the Blue Ocean Strategy approach of uncontested market space.

Published with permission from Paul McCabe @Paulmccabester

The automotive industry, was one such industry, highlighted by Paul, that has had to take a more user-centric approach given the increasingly competitive landscape. This can be seen through the convergence of various technologies and users expectations surrounding personal transport i.e. Navigation, Entertainment, Ownership, Insurance, Sustainability.

To successfully operate in a new Market Space companies must create Customer Lock-On versus the more traditional modus operandi of Customer Lock-In. Customer Lock-On is achieved by the delivery of an integrated customer experience.

Published with permission from Paul McCabe @Paulmccabester

Examples given included Spotify, Nike+ and Amazon.

Some other good quotes by Paul:

What cannot be networked, will become less important.
Change is not taught in business school.
Change will never be this slow again.

Session 4 — Framework for working with digital

This weeks session was a little different to the previous sessions, while Olle and Paul introduced to the concept of a ‘Networked’ society and the challenges of digital ‘Disruption’, respectively. Louisa’s presentation was a little more abstract and was focused more on providing us with a strategy ‘framework’ that enabled us to briefly flirt some sense-making of the Digital World we’ve been recently acquainted with in the preceding sessions.

The four main elements of the framework included:

  1. Understanding the main point of your company? i.e. complete this sentence, we’re in the business of…
  2. Finding your companies focus i.e. what problem are you solving?
  3. Brands being true to themselves — as a brand where do you have “Permission to Play”?
  4. The Why is as important as the What, and
  5. Go back to step 1.

This led to the three key questions of the framework:

  1. What’s your point?
  2. What are your focal points?
  3. Where do you have permission to play?

The framework, although simple, balanced the business side of the brand with the ‘human-centric’ side of the brand which was united and took the form of the “Strategic Direction”.

Underlying the Strategic Direction are the ‘Strategic Pillars’, which represented the different areas that support the Strategic Direction. These could include campaign tactics, connected environments, mobile and the development of co-created spaces.

Behind the framework, the need for observation was address through the development of a measurement framework.

Every product or service will show you its successor…if you’re paying attention.

The measurement framework is essentially the “Commercial Indicators of Why” or in other words, Success Metrics.

To test the framework, we all broke into groups and using a common brand applied the framework approach to identifying new opportunities. One observation I came away with was the desire of all groups to Go Big with their ideas, no one started with small ideas that could be tested and then scaled if successful and killed easily if not. I think it’s great to have ambition, but there is a reason for the success and wide spread adoption that platforms like Kickstarter et al. are having.

A nice visual understanding of the MVP or Minimum Viable Product, promoted widely by the Lean Startup is as follows:

Session 5 — Strategy Prototype 1.0

This session was the first step in building our Strategy Prototype, with some simple exercises to warm up our creative and ideation muscles this session was more about asking ourselves and each other; What’s the point? Following that each of us needed to understand: What do we need to do? and Why should we do it?

We were also introduced to the Feedback Grid, were the reviewer gave feedback in any or all of the four quadrants:

  • This was good.
  • This could be improved.
  • Gave me an idea.
  • Questions.

Session 6 —

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