HI,

Having recently got back into the workforce I was asked to develop a digital strategy. But over the years I have not found anyone who has a consistent explanation of what a Strategy is.Β  I read a book a few years ago by Richard Rumelt, called Good Strategy, Bad Strategy and have been using his book as a guide. Yet I am still confronted by documents with are dream lists with no idea of their current situation, the journey they need to take and any solid direction or end state. Richard says the kernel of a good strategy consists of three things, that of a diagnosis that defines or explains the nature of the challenge, a guiding policy for dealing with the challenge and finally a set of coherent actions that are designed to carry out the guiding policy. This sound logical and works quite well but still there seems to be a difference of opinion everywhere.

My question is: What is strategy?Β 
Can you help me understand the challenge more clearly?

I have worked in both State and Local governement over the last few years, coming form the commercial world. Returning after two and half years of being an artist. :) Still working in that medium.

In being asked to create a digital strategy I looked into who, what and how we were doing the business of government from the functional and operational aspects. What did people do, at what point did technology touch and impact their work and how effective was it. Did it meet their needs to get on with their work or was it creating issues. In doing this my two key drivers were Information and Human Centered Design. Information in the respect that the right information, was getting to the right person at the right time and to enable decisions. From the Human centered perspective was that information presented in such a way it empower that user. That you user did not need to do anything else to get the job done. In understanding this I then diagnosed several areas which could be worked on to improve this situation and deliver better outcomes and more value. Achieve the functional and operations delivery then that would better enable business strategy. With the buisness strategy improving it would then lead to better outcomes to the Community Strategy and finally putting the organsiation in a totally better position to consider and deliver around Smart City initives.Β 

The challenge is that all are accustom to asperational documents. From my expereince this leads to a compliance tick but the outcomes usually are not achieved. I wanted to provide a strategy that could be measures and delivered but struggling in how to frame it within the exiting model of understanding.
Marc DimmickΒ 
"Information in the respect that the right information, was getting to the right person at the right time and to enable decisions."

Isn't this the new definition for Omni-Channel?

"The challenge is that all are accustom to asperational documents. From my expereince this leads to a compliance tick but the outcomes usually are not achieved. I wanted to provide a strategy that could be measures and delivered but struggling in how to frame it within the exiting model of understanding."

Asperational documents? Where outcomes are usually not achieved. Yeah, that sounds about right. It's hard to achieve desired outcomes with aspirational documents, no? The existing model being based on aspirational documents?

Sorry for asking more questions...


Hi Marc! As a strategy proffesor, I can tell you there are as much definitions of strategy as defintions of leadership, innovation, etc. Every book/autor/researcher tells the story of their perspective and their practice. There is this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD7WSLeQtVwΒ  that I use in my classes to summarize the concept of strategy. Hope it is useful for you :)
Thank you for your insight with the video. If follows much of what I understood strategy to be. But from its inflection it is looking at if from a business perspective. What is your view of applying this to a government service delivery model as we are not competing directly as we are the only one providing the service. I am working it form how and improvements based from the customers perspective. In some ways I have to define a strategy in two respects what a coucil is wanting to project and secondly how does the city want to work. I would be keen your insights.
Marc Dimmick Well, actually, you're kind of always competing with someone, yourself included. Government, ONG's, Service or Manufacturing organizations have a mission to fulfill, KPI's to reach, internal and external customers/users to satisfy, etc. It is important to consider all stakeholders while defining a strategy, not only customers. Maybe looking for a common ground between the council and the city could help. :)
Hi Marc,

That's quite the question. There are many great authors that have written books and books on the subject. Much of what I have read and what I have done in my own business was to start with our strategic position. We are in a B2B world and based on Kotler, Trust and Information efficiency is key. Then we decided on our Brand Architecture = House of brands vs Branded House. We initially went with a House of Brands and changed to a Branded House...Β 

Mission, Vision, Values... then Strategy. Strategy supports the foundation, responds to the dynamics in your marketplace, and addresses your vision of the future.

Strategy can be the act of of keeping and refining. It can be the act of "close following". And it can be the act of creating, inventing. Keeping and refining can be the ongoing work on your value proposition, developing it further, providing further differentiation. "Close following" is the type of R&D that is the least costly, "Rip-off & Duplicate". Creating and inventing requires an approach and process. Good sources to support this is: The Customer Journey Map, Jobs to Be Done, and The Lean Start-up with MVP's.

And there are opportunities that can come up with start-ups.
Thanks Paul, some interesting perspective that value proposition and Clayton Christensens Job to be Done aspects is really powerful once you understand the customers perspective. And that is where I get in to a Design mode in stepping into the shoes of the customer. I agree with the Mission , Vision etc. In fact I slightly change that to Purpose, Vision and Mission. With this the purpose has to be distilled into two words and this is always the biggest challenge. ie: Ours is:

Purpose: Simplifying Engagement
Visioin: Deliverying technology how it should be; simply
Mission: Buildiing collabrartive and engaging environments through continuous innovation and improvement.

My challenge is the two aspects of my audiance be a local council. The vision of the council and then there is the operational of the city administration its self. I ended up having to explain the difference between a programme of outcomes and what I have developed using the attached diagram.
But I would be keen on your perspective in regards to that of service delivery in a sitaution where we have no competition other than ourselves.

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