Recommended ReadsSeptember 29th, 2020

Celebrating the creative nature of strategy

Charlotte Greally
Charlotte Greally, Senior Strategic Designer

There are hundreds of strategy manuals and thousands of Medium articles that offer practitioners tidy templates and canvases: equations that, when followed, promise to produce plans worthy of pursuit. They suggest we should study performance drivers, paradigms shift, and when we’re done, choose to optimise, leverage or engineer.

Neither the processes (too simple) nor the language (pseudoscientific) represent the true nature of strategic development which, at its core, is a very interpretive, very human practice.

Strategists are constantly called to make ‘creative leaps’ between data and insight, between insight and action. And I believe that, far from hiding this foundational skill behind formal language and neat steps, we should celebrate it.

We can find that celebration in the human sciences, where messier approaches to logic-building are embraced. Here, approaches are suggested based on a person's interpretation of the context, meaning you could have as many ‘solutions’ as you do practitioners. This same possibility exists within our own practice, underscoring the creativity potential we each bring.

This talk by philosophers and business strategists Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen demonstrate the value of creativity when confronted with the ambiguity of more complex business problems.

It’s quite old and really lo-fi, but their case studies for the likes of Lego and Adidas have stayed with me far longer than any high production value TED Talk I’ve seen since.

“There’s a kind of fatigue with the tools (organisations) have available. There’s a fatigue with how strategy is done, the over-quantification with everything, the million PowerPoint show, how all the strategies end up with the same ideas… in an age of big data and rational thinking there is also a need for getting a little bit of humanity back into business again.”


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