Recommended ReadsSeptember 29th, 2020

Celebrating the creative nature of strategy

Charlotte Greally
Charlotte Greally, Lead Strategic Designer

There are hundreds of strategy manuals and thousands of Medium articles that offer practitioners tidy templates and canvases: equations that, when followed, promise to produce plans worthy of pursuit. They suggest we should study performance drivers, paradigms shift, and when we’re done, choose to optimise, leverage or engineer.

Neither the processes (too simple) nor the language (pseudoscientific) represent the true nature of strategic development which, at its core, is a very interpretive, very human practice.

Strategists are constantly called to make ‘creative leaps’ between data and insight, between insight and action. And I believe that, far from hiding this foundational skill behind formal language and neat steps, we should celebrate it.

We can find that celebration in the human sciences, where messier approaches to logic-building are embraced. Here, approaches are suggested based on a person's interpretation of the context, meaning you could have as many ‘solutions’ as you do practitioners. This same possibility exists within our own practice, underscoring the creativity potential we each bring.

This talk by philosophers and business strategists Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen demonstrate the value of creativity when confronted with the ambiguity of more complex business problems.

It’s quite old and really lo-fi, but their case studies for the likes of Lego and Adidas have stayed with me far longer than any high production value TED Talk I’ve seen since.

“There’s a kind of fatigue with the tools (organisations) have available. There’s a fatigue with how strategy is done, the over-quantification with everything, the million PowerPoint show, how all the strategies end up with the same ideas… in an age of big data and rational thinking there is also a need for getting a little bit of humanity back into business again.”

Subscribe to Paper Giant

Each month, our team share their thoughts on design-related topics, reflect on current social issues and share what’s happening in and out of the studio. We'll also include an invitation to our monthly meet up, Office Hours. We'd love you to join us.

Three paper airplanes flying through the air into people's inboxes.
Paper Giant

Paper Giant acknowledges the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung people of the Kulin nation, the Ngunnawal and Bundjalung people as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our offices are located.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country on which we meet and work throughout Australia. We recognise that sovereignty over the land has never been ceded, and pay our respects to Elders past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images and voices of deceased people.