Vision for Digital Change

Related resource
Digital Vision Statements | Use this one pager to develop your vision

Organizations usually let problems fester and grow over time until it’s time to finally make big changes. At that point, there’s so much pent up demand and frustration that the team usually approaches the problem as primarily technical (and as a laundry list of problems with the current setup rather than a more forward-looking stance). When big changes are needed, it's time time to define a vision.

Can you skip visioning?

  • You only have one digital property or you aren't making any big technical changes
  • You aren't adding a one-off
    Also see our microsite checklist
  • You already have clear alignment between all teams
  • You understand what it's going to take to make the changes and you have the commitment to do it
  • You are approaching the problem as "getting the bones right" for long term quality rather than just what it looks like upon launch
Also: Digital Vision Statements

Three things need to be defined, early

There are three primary questions that should be answered in early strategy:

When to consider early strategy to develop the vision

Early strategy is important any time that a disruptive change is being considered. More specifically, this is when to do early strategy:

But isn't iteration better than big changes?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that sometimes disruptive changes are required. I have written an entire book on managing change over the long term, and think we should be doing everything we can to extend the time between redesigns. That said, especially when looking at your digital presence through a long term and broad lens, sometimes more disruptive changes are required.

Getting the vision right

Getting the vision right is tough, but important.

Why is the vision crucial?

But defining the vision is tough. Perhaps one of the biggest problems is to go beyond a purely inspirational vision to one that is both understood by everyone and also implementable. Overshooting on the vision does not lead to good results, and instead leads to disappointment. Mismatched expectations also arise when teams do not really understand what they are agreeing to in the first place (for instance, extra burden on them or less control). 

Do you have a strong vision?

  • Only your org could have this vision
  • Vision is implementable
  • Focused enough to force prioritization
  • Most stakeholders say it is compelling
  • Stakeholders understand the implications
  • Vision considers the long term
  • Vision is simple to communicate
Also: Digital Vision Statements

Avoid bottom feeding

Any potential change we can make to our digital presence can be narrow or broad and disruptive or not disruptive. In this diagram of the four types of change, we aspire to be on the left side, making non-disruptive changes both narrow and broad. But often teams are stuck in the bottom, only making narrow changes that are relatively easy to make, for instance only making easy publishing changes and spawning microsites or other one-offs. One of the goals of early strategy is so 1) we avoid making one-off changes and 2) when we do big changes like redesigns then it’s done to maximize the impact (and push out rather than accelerate the next redesign). 

Digital Vision Statements Use this one pager to develop your vision

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