Business growth depends on implementing the right strategies in the right way. However, this is often the Achilles’ heel of many organizations. At times like the present, managers must deal with decision-making under a high degree of uncertainty that makes scenario planning extremely difficult. On top of that, many organizations falter or even fail when it comes to taking the next step: strategy execution.

STRATEGIC PLANNING AND DESIGN THINKING

Managers have a great responsibility to minimize the degree of expectations in the face of achievable reality. To do this, it is essential to integrate all the business processes, the different teams and align them with the objectives of the organization’s vision. However, it is often difficult to achieve coordination between the different teams. About 90% of an organization’s employees don’t have clear goals, don’t understand them, or don’t even know what they are. To improve this situation, there is the possibility of combining traditional methodologies with a new, more participatory and people-centred vision. This is merging strategic planning processes with Design Thinking tools.

Scenario planning is a method by which organizations can form an idea of the possible and different scenarios in the future and how these may affect their strategic objectives.

Design Thinking is an approach to innovation based on the processes by which creative designers think and work. As it has become more entrenched, its functionality has expanded from product and service innovation to improved management systems and decision-making processes.

The association of both methodologies allows us to transfer concepts and cold data to co-creative and participatory formats, thinking that people need to visualize in some way what they tell us in order to understand it and truly integrate it within ourselves. It is a process of participatory learning and discovery, which facilitates a greater understanding of the business, of the customers, of the competition, of the possible opportunities to achieve the objectives, always focused on the user and focused on driving growth through innovation, understood as a different way of finding solutions.

To achieve this, it is necessary to start from a holistic understanding of the problem, including the needs of the customer, the environment, social factors, the market, emerging trends, etc. It’s about finding different points of view to go beyond the immediate boundaries of the problem and ensure that the right question is being addressed.

Its philosophy is based on gradually decomposing a central concept into several subsystems, with the aim of obtaining a broad x-ray of the elements that make up a whole. This systems thinking manages to expose opportunities and relationships in a very visual way, facilitating the understanding of the interactions between all the elements.

To facilitate the exploration of territories from an innovation perspective, these can be generated in the search for new links within the current system (by connection), by the alteration of a specific point (modification), or by the expansion and exposure to contrary concepts (opposition). It requires working by combining interdisciplinary teams, incorporating diversity and taking advantage of different paradigms and complementary tools to analyze, synthesize, generate knowledge and new ideas.

THE PROCESS IS STRUCTURED IN 4 STAGES

  1. Empathize and Perceive

We start by scanning external factors of change. It’s about going beyond understanding the end user, fully considering the external force field that will influence the change. This includes targeting both weak and strong signals, and also a clear attention to perceptual frameworks and potential biases. The advantage is that you will be able to anticipate context changes that the end user is probably not aware of, and that observation or empathy with that user would not necessarily reveal.

  1. Analyze and define.

It involves creating a real understanding of the present and a critical view of the expected future. This means classifying and assessing the forces of change, recognizing trends, and considering how and how intensively they can drive the future. It also means not just assuming continuity of trends and paying attention to the underlying systems that facilitate or block change. This will lead to a sophisticated vision of the future to be created, making it easier for the designed solutions to be more likely to be adopted with customers in the future.

  1. Devise

The goal is to investigate estimable alternative futures. To do this, the different scenarios are developed by investigating different ways in which the external context may change. Each of them raises the possible ways in which the contextual terrain may change in the future from more likely contexts to understanding alternative contexts.

  1. Prototyping, testing, and testing

The alternatives will be prototyped, that is, they will take shape, so that they can be easily integrated, tested and analyzed, being able to fine-tune possible needs not contemplated at the beginning. Their evaluation will allow you to discard those less fortunate ideas and focus on the most effective ones.

We live in a world of accelerated change, which requires organizations to improve their view of the environment, their response times, and their organizational effectiveness. This reality increases the need to propose more transversal processes, ensuring that all teams in the organization can recognize and understand the strategy, which will also increase the agility of the organization and the effectiveness in the implementation of tactics.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

CEO of Branward

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