1. Determining the destination: where does our company need to go?
Any successful road trip begins with anticipating the future. It’s about setting a destination and deciding where to go. Usually, this means thinking about the possibilities of places you’ve never been, exploring the options, and perhaps reading blogs, guidebooks and reviews to understand what others have seen and recommend.
For a company journey, broad input is critical to defining the future path. In practical terms, this means adding a “future-back and outside-in” analysis, where input comes from outside the ecosystem rather than the regulars at the corporate table. The board can play a key role in leveraging their skills and outside perspectives plus sharing of best practices from other companies with which they engage; often they are not asked. Defining the future and the innovation that will be needed to get there should include looking at external drivers and megatrends that point the way, including societal, industrial, technology, regulatory and political elements. This is particularly worth emphasizing at a time when stakeholder expectations and demands are changing dramatically in light of environmental, social and governance (ESG) developments and other drivers.
The environmental and social impact of a company’s products and services have the potential to drive new market needs, and the companies able to anticipate what their stakeholders need and innovate to meet those needs will be the leaders. Not surprisingly, directors and CEOs tell us that it is important to incorporate innovation perspectives from the following stakeholders into strategy setting sessions.