Jun 12, 2016
Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute always make me think. This week their thought-provoking notes overlapped with something that has been niggling at me for some time now: future planning.
I’m a firm believer that the most successful leaders continually plan for tomorrow. However, they must equally deliver value and realise benefits as they go. To keep the dream alive, and keep people going. This is really hard. How do you create a plan that has a beginning, middle and an end? Cue some solutions from NASA.
The NASA Effect
It’s not often to get so sit down and chew the cud with NASA. I’m a lucky man. I did recently, and even managed to get them out dancing too. NASA. Dancing? Who knew.
Anyway, we got talking about the economics of space exploration, as well the science. All fascinating stuff but the story that resonated with me most was how they approached the challenge of space exploration. The story and the plan.
See that football pitch above. Well, if you were to take a long step, say two metres per step, in 32 steps you could just about get over the half line. Standard thinking. Linear. Conservative. Easy. That is not going to get you anywhere quickly.
Now take a look at planet Earth. On average, our moon is 384,000 km away from us. That’s a long way. But what if we invested and innovated to double the distance travelled with each step? The first step of 2m, the second 4m, the third 8m, you get the picture. So, if you’re working this out in your head, yes, wait for it…In just under 32 steps we could get to the moon and back. The moon. And back!
That is exactly the culture, mindset and challenge that NASA brought to space exploration. The story and the plan. And they made it. NASA took power steps. Inventing and innovating with each stride.
Digital Transformation Power Steps
We can learn a lot from NASA. The future digital leaders are taking power steps now. They are already ascending and working their competitive advantage to the full. In Joe Pulizzi’s latest note he shows us how Pepsi and Mondelez are taking power steps and recreating their marketing departments around producing and monetising their content. These disruptors, and others, are on the move. In Pepsi’s case, they reduced editorial edits to media and content from two weeks to one hour. That’s a power step.
We also seeing massive disruptions in finance technology, or fintech, but they are calling in exponential finance. The numbers are staggering. In 2010, $1.8 billion was invested in fintech. In 2015, the total was $22.3 billion. Those are power steps, people.
We are also delivering content platforms, that when adopted properly, require significantly fewer people to operate and optimise around the basics. Instead these people can be redeployed to do higher-value tasks that create new value and deliver real business impact. Again with the power steps.
We are seeing power steps being taken everywhere. Linear laggards are being overtaken by power-step leaders at exponential rates. The majority of those laggards don’t even know it is happening. But ignorance is no defence in this everything-to-lose game we call digital. Not only that, but the gaps opening up between leaders and laggards look unlikely to be closed. It’s literally, eat my (moon) dust. And just to bring this point home, the last power step on our trip to the moon gets us back to earth in a single bound. That’s one small step for a laggard, but just one giant leap for a leader. The difference in competitive advantage to be gained for a single power step is mind-blowing.
So, how are you approaching your future planning? Now’s the time to get your digital power steps on.