What trends will affect my company and ecosystem in the coming years and how can I recognize them at an early stage?
How can I deploy future scenarios as strategic stories into the company and simulate them in a virtual world?
How can I invent, explain, try out and evaluate new ideas in my ecosystem?
What requirements must be fulfilled in order to ensure a successful transformation on the basis of customer requirements, structures, competences and visions?
„So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less, Which have solicited. The rest is silence.”
„The Limits of my language are the Limits of my world.”
„The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.”
„You cannot stop the wind but you can build mills.”
„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”.
„Decisions are required if and only if good reasons are missing.”
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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, meaning and turn it into an awakening.
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.