While taking a break and enjoying the sun, I do a holistic deep reflection on the year that’s been, review strategies, and think about the year ahead. This includes Dynamic4’s 2023 strategy.
The key focusing question I ask myself is “how do I want to spend my time”. How we spend our time, our non-renewable resource, is how we spend our life. As Frank Zappa said, “you have a piece of time, and you get to decorate it”.
I spend a lot of my time coaching clients to think through their strategy and theory of change. I’m conscious that there are different views on what a strategy is and they’re often hidden away and not made public – usually in fear of being copied.
In most cases, if someone else can do it better than you – especially when you have a head start – it probably wasn’t going to survive contact with the real world anyway. In my experience, the primary risk is the ability to execute, not someone stealing your idea. I find there’s more value in sharing and testing my thinking, rather than trying to do things in stealth mode. I often meet collaborators and supporters in the process.
It’s in that spirit that I’m sharing the refined strategy I wrote earlier this year and have been executing. It might also answer some questions for people who wonder what I do. There are a few frameworks and strategic questions I use, but consider this a worked example.
Dynamic4’s Purpose, Vision & Theory of Change
Dynamic4’s strategy exists within the context of our purpose, vision, and theory of change – it’s the next level of detail that describes the testable hypothesis of where we’ll play, how we’ll win, and what it means to win. The direction and approach we’ll take – and why.
Our purpose, vision, and theory of change has been stable for many years now, but it’s critical context, so I’ll include it here for completeness.
Dynamic4’s purpose is to help create the conditions for people and communities to be happier and have increasing quality of life through design and innovation. This means people and communities that are more empowered and inclusive, and live in regenerative ways.
The way we can contribute most to this is to help transform the way business is done. To accelerate and embed the trend toward regenerative business models. Businesses, products, and services that create great outcomes for people and our planet while also being profitable.
We do this by helping leaders and founders solve problems that matter in more empathic and innovative ways – to create great outcomes for people and our planet while being financially successful and increasing their wellbeing.
We play at the place where design, regenerative innovation, and wellbeing meet.
Dynamic4’s Vision & Impact
Organisations and leaders solve problems that matter in more empathic and innovative ways – and measure success in outcomes for people, our planet, and prosperity.
People and communities have increasing quality of life, are happier, and live on a planet that’s cleaner and healthier.
Dynamic4’s Theory of Change
Dynamic4’s theory of change in simplest terms is:
If businesses and leaders solve problems that matter in more empathic and innovative ways and measure success not just in profit – but equally in outcomes for people and our planet…
Then people will have increasing quality of life, be happier, and live on a planet that’s cleaner and healthier.
For a more complete description, check out our impact report which is updated regularly.
Where Will We Play?
The purpose-driven ecosystem with a focus on early-stage social enterprise ideas and leadership.
- Early-stage social enterprise ideas globally
- Leadership by founders, leaders, and boards primarily in Sydney
- Purpose-driven organisations – legal structure agnostic
- Organisations that want to be more purpose-driven by embedding purpose and impact in their business models, products, and services
Our whole focus is on helping leaders and founders solve problems that matter in more empathic and innovative ways to create great outcomes for people and our planet while being financially successful and increasing their wellbeing. Founders and leaders include:
- Social enterprise/startup founders
- NFP leaders
- Corporate leaders
- Business, design & innovation students
How Will We Win?
Focus on building capability and ecosystems by coaching, advising, and working alongside the people and communities we engage with. Collaboration rather than the agency or consulting model.
Take a human-centred design and innovation approach to everything we do. Follow action learning principles by prioritising experiential project-based learning with reflective practice and coaching. Prioritise founder/leader wellbeing and personal sustainability and embed positive psych and happiness habits in our own practice as well as program design and delivery.
Build and nurture meaningful long-term relationships based on trust and mutual value creation.
Use low/no touch assets to deliver value and generate revenue as part of an ascending value product ecosystem. Use digital to automate repetitive tasks and low value interactions.
Design for serendipity. Stay open and curious by saying yes, but gracefully decline or redirect where it’s not a strategic priority.
Dynamic4’s Strategic Theory
If Solve Problems That Matter (more so than me) has good global recognition and is valued by our target audience groups AND we actively help build and nurture healthy social enterprise and design ecosystems
And we have an ascending value product ecosystem including self-directed programs, facilitated programs/workshops, and coaching – supported by strategic collaborations/partnerships
Then there will be an abundance of opportunity that aligns with our purpose, theory of change, and strategy – and increases certainty of pipeline and the ratio of passive revenue from evergreen assets
So that we make meaningful progress toward the vision that leaders and organisations solve problems that matter in more empathic and meaningful ways while being financially successful and increasing their wellbeing (and I have this outcome for myself)… to help create the conditions for people and communities to have increasing quality of life, be happier, and live on a planet that’s cleaner and healthier.
What Does Winning Mean?
For us, winning means focusing on engagements that meet these four priorities:
- Impact. It aligns with our purpose, theory of change, and strategy
- Enjoyment & Lifestyle. It’s how we want to spend our time
- Right Fit. We’re good at it and we’re the right people to be doing it
- Viable. The right financial performance (revenue, cost, and margin) vs risk
Winning doesn’t mean competing with or beating others. We’re here to collaborate and win together.
What Will We Not Do?
- Take on any engagements that aren’t directly aligned with our purpose and help us deliver on our theory of change and strategic priorities – or require a consultancy/agency model. Our focus is to coach our clients to help them build the mindset and skillset to solve problems that matter in more empathic and innovative ways – and measure success in outcomes for people, planet, and shared prosperity
- Take a transactional approach
- Enter into collaborations/partnerships without aligned expectations and mutual value creation
- Invest time or money in startup ideas without doing full due diligence and alignment in expectations
- Build products before proven demand (pre-sold)
- Automate before a strong pattern of repetition
What Do We Need To Win?
- Ascending value product ecosystem
- Collaboration and strategic partnerships to help build ecosystems
- Operating model and business systems
What’s the Plan?
It’s important to remember that a strategy is not the same as a plan… and a plan is not the same as a strategy. This strategy describes our testable hypothesis. The work we do and experiments we run are designed to test this thinking – and refine it to follow the evidence. There are assumptions in our strategy that I’m actively testing.
This strategy flows through to our objectives and key results (OKRs) with strategic initiatives for the year and quarters… which flows into our 90-day plans and sprint plans. A constant work in progress.
Want some help with your theory of change and strategy? There are a range of ways we help with this, including our free Social Enterprise Healthcheck and free resources, my Solve Problems That Matter book, coaching, and workshops. A key focus is to help you get into your rhythm – so you can build momentum and solve problems that matter. If you’re keen to do some work together, I’d love to hear from you!