Monday, April 1, 2013

The straw man digital strategy

If you've been in a business meeting with me lately, its highly likely that you've heard me use the term "straw man" when speaking about the way to create a digital strategy. It's a popular term for me right now, with several clients and colleagues mentioning it.

So what do I mean by the use of the term. "Straw man digital strategy"? Here's several points to explain my approach:

1. With the rate of change in the technology world being so fast, any digital strategy you put in place now will be quickly out of date. By the time you've had a chance to write a document of any length, let alone get an internal review & approval... Things will have moved on. Think how quickly the app economy took hold and became a 'must have' for some organisations... creating and destroying business practices at the same time. That's just the beginning.

2. As the overall online market is still so new in places (especially in the minds of some corporate dinosaurs), the exact ways of doing something new that is specific to your business might not be established. Sure there will be overall best practice, but every organisation is different and therefore the plans to protect or grow it needs to be as relevant as possible.

3. As people move roles and take on different responsibilities in the evolving workplace, skills within the online industry are in constant flux. Consequently many people trying to make sense of their digital way forward might not have all the experience necessary to "dot the I's and cross the T's".

4. Being agile in the delivery of online has created many new and different sites, services and products. These are things that an older 'industrial' era might not have come up with, if the exact specification had been fixed at the beginning. This flexibility in building things can also be applied to the creation of the strategy that runs over the top of each work stream.

5. Putting a straw man concept up before it is complete helps stakeholders understand and contribute to the strategy. In much the same way as a UX prototype helps senior people in your company visualise your ideas, so this approach should not only help you get the input from other clever and experienced people around you, it will also help you get buy-in at the senior level.
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