Strategy meets design thinking

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Connecting traditional funding models to modern ways of working

Top down strategy setting and budgeting (Command and Control)

Traditional strategy and organisational management approaches are focused on creating a big picture strategy to maximise the allocation and impact of a finite set resources (capital, people, time etc.). Top down, centralised planning, with well communicated plans to be executed through rigid hierarchical structures.

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Centralised strategy & planning approaches are great for breaking down and coordinating work efforts across large organisations. It suits well when delivering outcomes that require little customer input, but is weak when there is limited information or variability in user preferences. (e.g. Employees don’t really have a choice when it comes to what systems they use, customers can walk away.)

Key issues

  • Big gap between planners and users / customers.

  • Budgets go to the most influential executives.

  • Good ideas generated by front-line staff rarely make it up the chain to be prioritised / funded.

  • Periodic strategic planning means long lead time between budget allocation and execution (lacks nimbleness)

  • Divides up budgets and resources based on organisational structures rather than customer outcomes

  • Progress often judged by spend rate rather than earned value (since there is little to show until right at the end of the project).

  • Good at continuous / incremental change but can only do things where the outcome is well known.

  • Competing functional priorities and silos can produce disjointed customer experiences.

The real problem

Imagine the following scenario: “I have a great idea that our customers will love…Great, what’s the cost, timeframe and return?”

In a traditional structured business environment, significant effort would be spent justifying, obtaining organisational buy-in and estimating the potential costs and benefits of any particular initiative…all before there is any real understanding whether the idea would be desirable to customers.