Strategic Initiatives and the Telework Revolution

27 July 2020 -

HandshakeThis is a brief story illustrating how good fortune can emerge from unforeseen eventualities.

Guest blogger, Barry Harrison

During the design phase of our NOVO Strategy Development platform, our aim was to produce a process that was guided by an external facilitator/consultant. However, we believe that the development of effective and deliverable strategy should, essentially, be driven by the creativity, knowledge and experience of key personnel within an organisation. Thus, NOVO was designed as a cloud-based product giving remote access to members of the client’s project team to develop and record their ideas, aspirations and strategies for the organisation. These individual ideas would then be discussed examined and challenged and through an iterative process a set of agreed strategic initiatives would emerge for detailed analysis.

The design of NOVO and its functionality was primarily to create flexibility for a facilitator, individuals and the project team to communicate and coordinate actions within a traditional working environment. At that time, we cannot claim prescience of the current pandemic conditions. However, the flexibility of the NOVO system was proving to be highly effective with our clients.

Just before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, The Strategy Partnership secured a contract from a European manufacturing company with a worldwide operational network. Our contract was for the supply of our cloud-based NOVO strategic development process coupled with facilitation support to the clients project team.

The project started in a conventional manner with a series of face to face meetings to agree various aspects of the programme. However, as the severity of the pandemic grew it quickly became apparent that we needed to adopt an alternative approach that would allow the project to continue. Thanks to remote access platforms, such as Zoom and Teams, a suitable technology existed. There was, however, the need to create and sustain a sense of purposeful engagement across these platforms to ensure that members of the Project Team and the Facilitator could communicate and maintain a cohesive approach to developing effective strategies.

At this point we realised the unexpected and fortuitous benefit of our NOVO strategy platform. The structure allowed the team and individuals to interact across a common platform where ideas could be viewed and developed remotely. The facilitator, who was based in the UK, could monitor these independent considerations made by the project team members in Europe and the USA offering ideas and suggestions as appropriate.

The collated view developed by the facilitator and various other opinions were able to be discussed and modified via Teams conferences involving up to fifteen participants with decisions recorded on the NOVO system.

An important aspect of the NOVO process is the requirement to hold a workshop where a range of client’s personnel are invited to participate in the strategic process. The workshop was held online and individual syndicate rooms were created. The workshop syndicates discussed views and ideas regarding the organisations SWOTs and possible strategies. The NOVO structure allowed each syndicate to record and present their conclusions to the main forum. These data sets were retained on the system for subsequent review and analysis by the project team. The involvement of a greater cross section of participants helps to create ownership of the strategic process within the business.

Our experience over the past couple of months working with SMEs in the UK, together with evidence from other colleagues, indicates that the benefits of working remotely are becoming increasingly attractive, pandemic notwithstanding. In these circumstances having a business process that is effective in office based or telework situations is extremely beneficial.

The NOVO system can be used to provide online demonstrations to prospective clients and help facilitate active projects whilst minimising face to face contact where appropriate. It provides a positive platform for Consultants to create additional revenues and build stronger relationships with clients at the strategic level.

If you have an interest in getting involved in delivering NOVO as a facilitator contact Barry Harrison at The Strategy Partnership via email, or by telephone t: +44 (0)161 962 4542 /m: +44 (0)7930 397390