Takeoffs – Alex & Verne Sight on Strategy, Storytelling, Virtual Worlds and Desperados
Corporate Reality | Disconnected
„So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less, which have solicited. The rest is silence.”
For companies, a common world shared with their environment is vital. There must be an understanding between the company and its stakeholders about what is done by a company, how it is done, why it is done, the effects of the action and how the story of this action is told. Otherwise the company runs the risk of living only in “its own world” – and this inevitably leads to crisis:
Outstanding products and services are not developed because customers are no longer understood;
Market positions are lost because the major trends are no longer recognized at an early stage and potential competitors are ignored;
Talented employees are not won because the incentives offered are no longer effective;
Customer loyalty, acceptance and brand strength are eroded because one no longer knows how integration into the living environment, aesthetics and the spirit of the times works for customers;
Suppliers and partners leave because it is not recognized that the principles of cooperation have changed;
Turnarounds do not work because the language used in the company is no longer able to describe crises;
Compliance problems and legal breaches are becoming more and more complex because the subjective experience of the law and legal practice are longer adequate.
The decoupling of company reality from the environment can become a highly toxic poison, which can destroy the work of decades.
On the other hand, a company that is firmly anchored in the reality of its environment and is highly sensitive to the weak signals can hear the grass grow. It finds the right solutions, the right people, the right structure and the right story before others even realize that change is happening.
Speechless | Strategic Frictions
„The Limits of my language are the Limits of my world.”
A trigger for corporate reality decoupling from its environment are strategic frictions. We see frictions as nonlinear changes in relationships with employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers and stakeholders. They are initiated or accelerated by factors such as technology change, changed macroeconomic conditions, political crises or even changed ethical and aesthetic value structures.
Strategic frictions are located outside the established company horizon. Organizations therefore lack the language and tools to be able to recognize, describe and effectively operationalize them. As a result, companies lose their communicative and operational connection to their environment and the ability to co-develop and interact with the markets. The more this decoupling progresses, the more the company loses the ability to detect and describe strategic fractures through weak or strong signals. A danger that is all the greater when the environment develops particularly dynamically. The opportunity is in recognizing this development at an early stage – and looking for ways out of speechlessness.
Re-Connect | New Worlds
„The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.”
Stories and metaphors offer a way out of speechlessness. They make fractures comprehensible and interpretable. With the multitude of digital and analog media formats available today, virtual worlds can be created that makes it possible to narrate and interpret strategic fractures. Alternative paths, which were previously not visible, can be explored and playfully tried out. The blind spots of the previous strategy and communication become visible, and those supposedly cast in stone can suddenly be moved.
The virtual world is not a passive medium: It is a space of action and experience and offers new instruments for understanding problems. It makes it possible to illuminate and describe the blind spots of the organization.
This has very specific implications for the performance of a company:
The findings gained in the virtual worlds are translated into handy road maps for the adaptation of processes, structures and marketing strategies;
The expectations, value orientations and motives of the stakeholders are understood and transferred directly into marketing and product development;
The view for the framework conditions of our own actions is sharpened and filtered into effective risk management systems;
Opportunities for business model and communication innovations are recognized and processed at an early stage;
The identification of employees with the company is strengthened by a new, exciting form of coexistence;
The interaction with external stakeholders is intensified in a context that is not weighed down by structures and hard facts.
On the Holodeck | Unleashed Energy
„You cannot stop the wind but you can build mills.”
Revolutionary products, successful re-positioning, innovative marketing campaigns and unusual commitment rarely emerge from the daily business. The necessary energy is not released in the day-to-day activities of the company, which are characterized by sluggish structures, a rigid language, habits and routines.
The “detour” of a virtual world arising from the tension between corporate reality and the reality of stakeholders is the way to trigger the dynamics necessary for change.
Through today’s technological solutions and our cross-industry benchmark library, we can create interactive and multimedia narrative spaces that act as vehicles for alienation, change, networking, and understanding.
“What if?” We can answer this question in a virtual world without taking the restrictions of reality into consideration. And we can playfully test whether these restrictions are actually carved in stone. The virtual world provides the framework for interpreting frictions, integrating external perspectives, identifying opportunities and threats, searching for effective solutions and implementing them in the company.
Desperado | Subversion
„I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves”.
Do we remember how it was when our companies were young, aggressive, adventurous and bubbling over with ideas? When we wanted to conquer the world? When we broke all the rules to create new things and to teach the top dogs about fear? When there was still much to win and very little to lose? When we did not look at the start-ups with longing but were start-ups ourselves? When we held the spirit of the times by the horns?
A new world is the way to once again discover the adventurer, the conqueror, the pirate and the desperado in us. The core of this new world must be subversive and attack the central, immovable certainties and specially protected comfort zones of our companies. It has to raise new, unfamiliar and uncomfortable questions.
The virtual world is the strategic resource for questioning and transforming our real world. It is the way to bring friction, a break, and meaning and turn it into an awakening.
Strategy | Decision
„Decisions are required if and only if good reasons are missing.”
Retrospectively, strategies reveal themselves as observable patterns that are reflected in different narratives. And these narratives – strategic narratives – usually deal with decisions. We speak of decisions but only if the outcome is uncertain, the data material (the good reasons!) is poor, the risk and the chances are high. In these constellations we enter the realm of strategy. And in this realm, tales, metaphors, and images reign: They help to describe a vision, to manage the complexity, to legitimize roles and decisions, and to sharpen the consistency of the thought-building. In everyday life, a company needs more effective management and a functioning organizational structure. The strategy then runs in the background. It is ready to take over when the standard Operation mode is interrupted and decisions that really deserve the name are required.
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