In a world of increased complexity, the ability to adapt to change and to combine it with collective intelligence is essential.

Millions of institutions and organizations around the world devote considerable resource and time to processes of developing strategy and planning. Strategy development has traditionally functioned as a ‘closed’ process that senior management has conducted with the support of the Strategic Planning Unit or a Consultant. Strategies are determined and shared with the organization. After that, everyone was expected to believe, support and even implement these strategies. Eventually, either strategies that were not competitive and strong enough were being developed, or somehow, strategies could not be realized.

Competitive conditions and increased speed compel companies to become energetic and the strategic approaches to be robust, yet agile therewithal. Just understanding economic platforms at a macro level does not suffice at all. Coinciding with the ‘reality’ and the ‘current agenda’ is also crucial. While the real agenda runs at a flow speed in the game field (the market , competition, customers), the era of developing strategies on paper behind closed doors, must be over! In a world of increasing complexity, the ability to adapt to changes and to combine it with collective intelligence is essential.

People become more engaged, when they feel included.

Once they feel inclusive, their level of consciousness and knowledge, as well as their confidence in the good intention and in the content increases. Moreover, their sense of ownership increases due to the trust factor. Many people working in different units and platforms of the organization have good insight, and knowledge, and many ideas for their industry as to change, competition, customer needs, innovation.

There is a new belief that the role and the opinion of other stakeholders (such as employees, business partners, customers, suppliers, community) in the company’s strategies are equally important as investors, shareholders and senior management. Moreover, it is possible to make use of information and communication technologies to gather the opinions of the stakeholders. Through electronic surveys and voting, for example, the right audience can be reached, and through discussion forums, active participation can be obtained. In fact, with a wider participation, the ‘crowd-sourcing’ social sharing technologies and decision-making mechanisms can be restructured with bottom-up approach.

Generating new ideas has a serious impact on people’s sense of inclusion and engagement that leads them into reacting positively to change.

Not only managers yet even employees know that something different should be articulated and thought about. Finding common grounds in intergroups, generating new ideas, cross information and Project Teams will deliver highly effective results. Making the ‘learning organizations’ and a continuous self-improvement concept, the fundamental part of the culture is essential. GE’s ‘Work-Out’, HP’s ‘Ten-Step Planning’, are good examples of developing a participatory approach while creating a strategy.

The main issue is to get the useful and necessary information and synthesize it into meaningful options after including those who will be affected, especially employees, in the process with wide participation.

In dynamic planning, there is one more thing to support this whole engagement process: Data Analysis.

Consumer behavior, customer response, competitive attacks, trends, etc. are part of this analysis. However, it is critical that the information is alive and that it is constantly nourished. It is possible to gather data and opinions in real time, make decisions quickly with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) mechanisms and develop engaging strategies and policies. Due to information technologies, options and priorities can be quickly evaluated and decisions can be triggered to act in real time. A bank can detect fraud from customers’ actions. An e-mail service provider can analyze e-mails to determine which ones are ‘spam’. By analyzing the likes and shares of social networking site users, it is possible to depict the most appropriate advertisements for a specific person. By analyzing the products bought by its customers, a store can offer them the most suitable products and increase their sales…

Release: OPTIMIST November 2014