Is Your Organisation’s Strategy from the Outside-In?

by Jul 28, 2014

We have been doing a lot of work recently on the difference between strategy from the Inside-Out, and strategy from the Outside-In. We feel this is a very significant issue. This concept has been pioneered by George Day and Christine Moorman.  Most organisations build their strategy from the Inside-Out, for example:

a) We need to grow 20% in the next financial year

b) We need to be #1 in the market

c) We need to expand in to other countries

d) We need to increase our product portfolio 15%

What the organisation does not realise is that the customer does not care one iota about any of these issues. Not at all. Do you care if Amazon wishes to increase it penetration into emerging markets? Not a bit. Do you care if Facebook is addressing a new market segment. Not for a moment.

On the other hand, Strategy from the Outside-In focuses on the customer's "Perception" of the organisation and what is important to the customer's values and needs. It has a very significant overlap to Design Thinking - empathising with the customer, putting yourself in the customer's shoes, and really taking on the lens of the customer to understand what is the strategy that is relevant to them - and if the organisation delivers on that strategy, then there is a very strong likelihood that the Inside-out outcomes will result. Can you argue with this? Probably not. So the challenge is to re-define your organisations's strategy. Do the following:

a) Dig out your organisation's "strategy on a page"

b) Run down the list and mark which items your customer really will care about

c) Pull yourself together from the shock you will probably get when you realise that most of the goals/strategies are irrelevant to the customer

d) Rework the strategy docent with a lens of the customer - what is the strategy that is relevant to the customer as you empathise with them. And indeed, if you cannot do this, then you need to conduct a Design Thinking exercise to really build that strategy from the Outside In.

Watch this short video from George Day.

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