Why is Strategic Focus a Bigger Challenge in the Design Consultancy Industry & What is Needed to Deal with the Challenge?

Why is Strategic Focus a Bigger Challenge in the Design Consultancy Industry & What is Needed to Deal with the Challenge?

In my earlier blog posted on 22/10/2014, I looked at the viability of the design consultancy industry and asked why the strategic focus was a bigger challenge to achieve then in other industries. I drew a straight line, a direct correlation between the strategic focus and achieving/sustaining the intent hence industry viability.

In this blog I will attempt to answer some of these industry challenges (and solutions) that are resulting in this gap, the gap in distance and journey time between where we are today and the strategic intent.

Let’s consider distance first.

When I talk about distance I am literally referring to how far away the industry is from achieving its full potential.

The strategic intent set by a business defines where the business wants to be in five to ten years from today.

The strategic focus is the tool needed to achieve the full potential that will lead to this intent. This full potential must be capable of dealing with the most challenging of intents. The strategic intents themselves must not be unrealistic but dictated to a certain extent by the full capability potential of the business, and I stress full and not current potential. A word of caution here, the full potential is not static state but dynamic.

The benefits associated with a business that strategically focuses on achieving its full potential is a combination of organic and non-organic growth, sustainability and viability.

So to answer the question on why the strategic focus is more of a challenge in the design consulting industry, I would say it basically boils down to:

  1. Organizational/business design
  2. Culture & excessive resistance to change
  3. Tactical non holistic views of the business strategic intent
  4. Greater emphasis on engineering/design works at the expense of focusing on the road map leading to the strategic intent

What is needed to close this gap in distance?

The industry needs in my view to look at implementing four key areas:

  1. A viable systems/business model
  2. Encourage and not destroy both entrepreneurship and intrepreneurship at all levels of the business. If you are wondering about the difference the former is external related and the latter is internal.
  3. A culture that competes for the future by continuously challenging the assumptions and is prepared to forget the past.
  4. Performance related incentives to create a win -win situation for all business and staff alike.

The journey time for closing this gap will ultimately depend on the level of commitment from the very top of the organization. The extent of commitment from the top, CEO, COO level etc will mean the difference between a relatively short journey time and a very long one. The focus in hand must be to narrow the journey time as leaving it for too long may lead to the business demise.

In my next post I will discuss the viable systems/business model, meanwhile I would be happy to answer/debate any questions any of you may have on my initial two blogs.

Author of Blog: Majed Bushnaq

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