I don’t really buy into philosophy. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I respect it. I just don’t look to it to solve world problems or even identify them. In 1975 I was introduced to Hegel and Feuerbach and loved to ponder their quotes. However, it did nothing to help me innovate, especially in business some decades later.
The article, 8 Visionaries on How They Spot the Future by Joanna Pearlstein brought me back to those days. As I read that essay, I saw a spark of genius in some of the interviewees, but also I muttered the all annoying “hm-mm” to those comments that seemed like mental calisthenics.
What some of these “visionaries” did not allude to was the nexus between the vision and the disruptive technology that changed industries.
For instance, “vision” is the fourth step in creating a strategic plan in the 60 Minute Strategic Plan by Johnson and Smith. The first three steps are issue, assumptions, and values. In other words, according to Johnson and Smith, in order to establish a vision in strategic plan, you must first identify the issue that you are trying to solve, what you know to be true, and lastly the value proposition you are trying to convey to your customer.
For example, the IPHONE. Jobs and company must have seen an issue. That is issue was, “Can people control their music, research, communication, money, etc. in the palm of their hands? Taking music, Apple had to address the assumption that the music value chain was in the hands of the major record companies. Their vision and solution: To create a new value chain by introducing disruptive technology. Apple started to sell music, not just play it like an MP3.
Summit Performance System designed a similar process stating that “a strategic management system is a systematic process that enables an organization to establish a foundation by defining its mission, vision, and values.”
If you are an artist, a business person, or both, you must establish a foundation of what you are trying to accomplish before brainstorming with a committee of people to create a vision.