With the initial period of shock and adjustment now behind us, many business leaders are now in a more introspective phase--asking more fundamental questions of themselves and their teams.
How do we identify sustainable growth opportunities? How do we create not just safe but memorable customer experiences? How do we reinvent our brand and business?
The pace of change is fast. Agility is at a premium. The number of constraints are many. Leaders need to be able to focus their time, energy and resources on the ideas that have the potential to deliver maximum impact.
In other words, they need a systems approach to answering these tougher, broader questions.
Sprints are a great place to start. As the name implies: it is a rapid approach to problem solving. When well-designed and well-run, they can spark creativity and innovation; foster collaboration-- leading to radically better solutions.
Three trends highlight the need for this approach:
- The role of the CMO is now more than just marketing communications and storytelling, according to a recent Google study. The CMO is expected to be an innovation catalyst, capability builder, growth driver and customer champion within their organisation. High attrition rates suggest that many find this an uphill struggle.
- Marketing is now highly complex, fragmented, data-driven and specialised. Multiple agencies and partners are needed to create the right content for the right medium. Not surprisingly, breaking through the ensuing noise and clutter with a coherent story is even harder.
- Pervasive and systematic commoditization: A Bain study asked CEOs whether their company's products were differentiated--80 percent said yes; in stark contrast, just 8 percent of customers agreed. Differentiation isn't just your brand or your collection of products and assets per se; it's what you do for your customers each and every day.
Companies have to shift from storytelling, which has historically been the purview of the marketing department—conveying the story of their brand, business or product through paid advertising, or PR. To storydoing, which is a to-do for the entire organization.
The common goal is less about creating communications and more about creating experiences that people can participate in and share with others. The old adage continues to ring true: Actions speak louder than words.
At Studio Jigsaw, design thinking and brand strategy is at the core of what we do. We help clients accelerate, grow and transform through an approach we call Story + Doing.
As a company, we're far more interested in transforming brands and businesses into StoryDoers who communicate primarily through their innovation and customer experience.
Our sprints are designed to frame everything in terms of story--borrowing tricks of the trade from investigative journalism, cultural anthropology and brand strategy.
In our experience, having a clear story is a great way to align stakeholders and mobilize teams to build real, concrete solutions for change.
And it all starts with a big, bold, beautiful question.