The word ’strategic’ is often met with scepticism. But service design is at its most valuable when shaping organisational strategy. Peter Drucker once observed: “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all”.
Strategy is how you avoid this. A sound strategy tells you where you are going, and sets out a high-level, achievable plan to get there. And strategy combined with service design ensures the destination delivers maximum value to both users and the organisation. A clear strategy, underpinned by service design, is how you make sure anyone can decide what the most valuable things are to work on.
Yet bad strategy documents abound: massive tomes, years in the making (during which the organisation has continued to do what it perhaps should not have been doing at all), full of platitudes, unattainable visions or uninspiring lists of mundane tactical objectives. Service blueprints gathering dust in drawers, or slowly fading on a forgotten wall. It makes it easy to pooh-pooh strategy, dismissing it with another Drucker aphorism, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, or the mantras of “strategy is easy, tactics are hard” and “the strategy is delivery”.
Using real-world examples of successful discovery and strategy projects, we’ll explore a simple framework for understanding what makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ strategy, and discuss how we can reclaim strategy, do it well, and get the support we need to translate it into action.
This will be an interactive session, so come prepared to share your strategy challenges. Topics we’ll aim to explore together are:
• the difference between vision, strategy and tactics
• how to hit the ‘goldilocks point’ with strategy: not so visionary you fail the “yeah right” test, not so mundane you fail the “so what?” test
• the benefits of ‘good strategy’ and why its essential to becoming “agile”
• how and when to engage with stakeholders, avoiding big surprises to get the support and buy-in you need to turn good ideas into action
• how to present findings and recommendations for maximum stakeholder impact
You should be able to apply what you learn whether you’re developing the overarching strategy for a whole company, for a particular product or service, or delivering a brand, content or user experience strategy. Culture may still eat strategy for breakfast, and implementation may still be the really hard part, but with a good strategy behind you you’ll have a lot more chance of succeeding.