Design value and become a future-fit organisation

“Design Value” is the second phase of the SGA transformation process. Now that we comprehend and embrace the need to change, the core questions of “Design Value” deal primarily with HOW to get the job done:

  • HOW do we determine our organisation’s position with respect to the context we operate in?
  • HOW do we contribute with our purpose to a thriving economy, society and environment?
  • HOW can we develop an inspiring vision for our future-fit organisation within the systems context?
  • HOW does the systems perspective help us to bridge the gap between the current position and our vision of a future-fit organisation?
  • HOW can the science-based definition of socio-ecological success enable us to make the right decisions in the PESTLE context?
  • HOW can we identify and successfully walk the key stepping stones of our purposeful journey towards future-fitness?

Today’s context dynamics are more complex and more difficult to predict than ever, hence most businesses experience that the conditions in which they operate are subject to disruption. Major changes are caused by global developments (economic, social, environmental), innovative technologies, digital transformation, new regulatory and compliance issues, and increased awareness and expectations of consumers and stakeholders. At SGA, the ADVISE process is our approach to designing, developing and delivering value based on a realistic and yet challenging roadmap towards future-fitness. In this second phase, having gone through the ACER process before, we collaborate to diagnose your current position, we sharpen and visualise success, we prototype and pilot initiatives, and we co-create intelligent paths to bridge the gap between the present and the envisioned future.

The ADVISE process

The whole process consists of six interdependent modules. While each module provides substantial strategic value of its own, all of them need to be covered to develop a comprehensive strategy. The overall ADVISE process is everything but linear, hence it is often necessary to revise the individual steps in certain intervals. The entire process results in a strategic masterplan to achieve a company’s desired future position, based on context-driven and purposeful innovation and leadership. At first sight, our ADVISE process seems to depict a highly familiar approach. The difference is taking each of these steps from the system perspective.

The six independent modules of the ADVISE process

The ADVISE process: A = Acer, D = Diagnose, V = Visualise, I = Innovate, S = Strategise, E = Engage
© Sustainable Growth Associates GmbH

ACER! Key Stakeholders

For change to happen, an individual and later an organisation, an industry sector or a whole industry must AWAKE! first, prior to being able to COMPREHEND! why change is necessary, to then hopefully EMBRACE! the need for change in order to RESPOND! in taking the first of many steps to follow. The successful “acering” of key stakeholders is probably the most essential step of the ADVISE process. It is unlikely that the already “acered” initiator and/or key decision-maker will generate momentum for the transformation journey ahead all alone. Even a company owner or a board member needs to convince and motivate the organisation’s key stakeholders. Please have a look at our service chapter Discover Value as well, where we describe the ACER process in detail.

DIAGNOSE! Your Position

This step is about understanding the CONTEXT an organisation operates in, the COGNITION external stakeholders place on it, and its CONDITION. CONTEXT comprises both the inside-out view (= the organisation’s own perspective) and the outside-out view (= the perspective of external experts) when analysing political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental opportunities and threats. COGNITION is the outside-in analysis of the organisation’s perception. It answers the question “What assets and liabilities do external stakeholders see when assessing the organisation’s governance & leadership, products & services, processes, communication, DNA & culture, and finance? CONDITION is the inside-in analysis of the organisation’s strengths and weaknesses. It provides the necessary assessment of the organisation’s actual capabilities and its readiness to survive in VUCAD times. Overall, DIAGNOSE! provides crucial input for the next, probably most exciting step of ADVISE.

VISUALISE! Your Future

This step is about the organisation’s envisioned future based on a broader PURPOSE. The key question to be answered first of all: Why does this organisation exist, and why will it be needed in a sustainable future? Elaborating an organisation’s PURPOSE can be difficult and painful, but the effort will pay off. Both a powerful PURPOSE and a compelling VISION are vital for future success. From a systems perspective, VISUALISE! integrates a variety of concepts and sources, such as Jim Collins’ Vision Framework, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Future-Fit Break-Even Goals (part of the FFBB). All aspects considered, VISUALISE! demands the elaboration of the future an organisation desires, to define the role it wants to play in the process, and how it needs to advance to become able to fill this role.

INNOVATE! For Success

This step closes the gap between where we are (DIAGNOSE!) and where we want to be (VISUALISE!), while at the same time acknowledging the limitations of the broader systems surrounding us. INNOVATE! is about backcasting from the desired future position, having the Sustainability Principles always in mind, to be understood as a framework for action and definition of success. Exponential technologies play a vital role here, because they can open up new pathways for all organisational areas and fields of activity.

STRATEGISE! Your Approach

While INNOVATE! provides the organisation’s options for negotiating a transformation, STRATEGISE! calls for the ideatione, identification and prioritisation of strategic initiatives for going forward. This step of the ADVISE process delivers the required short-term and long-term, top-line and bottom-line goals, and it determines the key steps towards them. Each step must meet the following three key criteria: 1) leading in the right direction, 2) offering a flexible platform to take the subsequent steps, and 3) providing an attractive Return on Investment (ROI). The result of the steps so far: DIAGNOSE!, VISUALISE!, INNOVATE! and STRATEGISE! can now be consolidated in the organisation’s masterplan describing the executable pathway towards future-fitness.

ENGAGE! Your Transformation

After having diagnosed the current position, a vivid description of the desired future at hand, the options developed and the strategy agreed upon, it all comes down to “getting the job done”, to ENGAGE! Your transformation. Implementing the masterplan starts in waves of one year, with each of them focusing on a given theme, building on the initiatives developed, and controlled by an appropriate methodology such as the Sustainability Scorecard, a Balanced Scorecard guiding an organisation towards sustainability. The organisation is now on its mission to become truly fit for the future. And if done properly, applying context-driven and purposeful leadership and innovation, and considering the socio-ecological boundaries, there is no stopping it.

Going through the ADVISE process taking a systems perspective

So what makes our ADVISE process so special? It is the fact that we go through each step taking a systems perspective. And that makes all the difference!

The ADVISE process taking the systems perspective
© Sustainable Growth Associates GmbH

Any organisation needs to assess its political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental context, known as the PESTLE framework. Applying the systems view based on the Sustainability Principles, the two most relevant PESTLE dimensions, environment and society, are clearly defined and become a tangible. The first three principles, shown in the outer blue circle in the infographic above, define an ecologically sustainable society. The following five principles (in the red circle) give the conditions to be met for a socially sustainable society. Thus the complexity is not just reduced with regard to these two context variables. It rather gains two determinants that the other four (those in the green circle) must subordinate to. In a nutshell, it is the ADVISE process, applied based on the systems perspective, together with its related methodologies and tools, that enables an organisation to determine its very specific goal of future-fitness. The ADVISE process is like a radar system enabling organisations to navigate the fog of VUCAD.

Design Value – Selected Services

DIAGNOSE! Your Current Position

VISUALISE! Your Desired Future

INNOVATE! For Success

STRATEGISE! Your Approach

Individual approach and procedure. Please get in touch with us.

ENGAGE! Your Transformation

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Individual approach and procedure. Please get in touch with us.

DIAGNOSE! Your Current Position

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WHY is it important?

Any organisation needs to understand its present position within the broader context before developing a strategy for change. Hence, it is essential to assess the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental context. Furthermore, a critical view inside is indispensable, in order to evaluate the organisation’s current operational excellence, leadership culture and sustainability excellence. To deeply understand the entire lifecycle of the products and services, a life cycle analysis needs to be conducted, applying the SLCA approach, for example. With any aspiration for change, innovation comes into play. Regardless of whether we are talking about incremental, radical, explorative or disruptive innovation, purposeful strategic innovation management requires a comprehensive view of why, what and how to innovate. These key analytical elements must be applied properly, otherwise the organisation will not be able to bridge the gap between the current and the desired future position.

WHO benefits?

The organisation as a whole. Within the organisation, these analytical services particularly address corporate and business executives, strategic consultants and investors, searching for an intelligent strategic approach to purposeful change and innovation management and willing to disrupt the status quo.

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WHAT you get

At SGA, we integrate and provide proven science-based approaches and methods taking the systems perspective when analysing and diagnosing an organisation. Some examples: we use the PESTLE Framework to assess the business context, of which the social and environmental dimensions are guided by the Sustainability Principles and the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD). To assess an organisation’s performance relating to economic, social and environmental excellence, we apply the Future-Fit Business Benchmark (FFBB). The FFBB is a rigorous, science-based methodology which can be used to measure and compare key business practices and performance in order to provide tangible indicators on how to prepare for the challenges ahead. The innovation capabilities are analysed by applying the Innovation360 Framework. To assess the organisational DNA & culture, SGA works with various science-based and proven approaches. Please contact us for more information.

TIME required

Per dimension to be analysed 4 – 12 weeks. Since all our methodologies and tools are online-based and compatible with standard IT, we are highly effective and can provide results quickly. Depending on the chosen methodology, we collect information and data online, for example using online questionnaires and/or platforms. In addition, we conduct individual interviews, round tables and workshops.

VALUE provided

Meaningful and reliable documentation of the analytical results, usually provided digitally and explained/discussed either face-to-face (meetings, workshops, presentations) or in virtual meetings (video conferencing, Skype, etc.). Having gone through selected/all analytical steps, the organisation has a crystal-clear understanding of the current CONTEXT, the COGNITION external stakeholders place on it, and its internal CONDITION.

VISUALISE! Your Desired Future

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WHY is it important?

A clear definition of the desired future is fundamental to the effective, agile and sustainable development of any organisation towards future-fitness. This guideline will boost the organisation’s strategic development and consequently connect the business with its key stakeholders. A vivid description of the desired future, based on the corporate purpose and considering the context dynamics, depicts an organisation’s commitment to flourish while at the same time respecting the boundaries set by the planet. It will therefore guide the definition of the BHAGs, the “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals”, and the initiatives that will be derived from them.

WHO benefits?

The organisation as a whole. Within the organisation, usually a small group of corporate and business executives, strategic consultants and key stakeholders is asked to provide the necessary input for the co-creation process that is conducted by the core transformation team (plus internal and external experts when required).

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WHAT you get

A two-day-workshop actively involving the core transformation team. During the workshop, we apply methodologies like design thinking and a variety of creativity techniques, such as storyboarding, mind-mapping, etc. Data collection and preparations to be conducted previously are guided by the SGA facilitators.

TIME required

2 – 4 weeks, including preparations, the two-day-workshop, post-processing and documentation.

VALUE provided

A vivid description of the organisation’s desired future position, connecting the present with the future, including a clear definition of future success and the first BHAGs.

Dirk Uhlemann

Managing Partner
+49 (89) 2123121-11

Rüdiger Röhrig

Managing Partner
+49 89 2123121-12