In the Harvard Business Review article, “How to Build a Strategic Narrative”, Mark Bonchek inspired me to share how stories are fused into the practice of Interweaving. What caught my eye was he’s recognition of the connection between a good story and a company’s strategy.
Interweaving embrace storytelling because it is a human centric and work oriented practice. I have touched the subject earlier and here I add another piece.
The new piece of Interweaving is that documention of structured knowledge and (point-of-)views, such as a strategy, business model or safety model, are accompanied by 3 kinds of stories (work to be done, narrative, logic).
But first, Mark’s example of the need for a strategic narrative
Mark wrote: “A strategic narrative is a special kind of story. It says who you are as a company. Where you’ve been, where you are, and where you are going. How you believe value is created and what you value in relationships. It explains why you exist and what makes you unique. This doesn’t come out of the usual competitive landscape, customer interviews, and whiteboard sessions. It takes a different approach and a shift in thinking led by the leadership team.”
Let’s translate the strategy example into Interweaving
We find several groups of interested parties with varying interests in a strategy, based on work they do with others.
A strategy (document) may be sufficient for its creators but for other consumers a strategic story is needed to deepen their intuitive understanding, inpiration and aspirations. Narratives provide a vital bridge between a highly structured piece of work and people that were not part of its creation or who are not subject field experts. Participating in strategy discussions gives you unique insights into its essence, background information and underlying reasoning. A strategic story provides food for thoughts for the more imaginative right side of the brain.
A strategy is often documented in model(s) that covers “where to play” and other topics. Strategy models can be complex, formal and precise. Here a narrative fills in the blanks, the space between the model elements, and the provides the untold glue between the parts. The strategic logic feeds the into the more logical left side of the brain.
Strategies are formed and formulated based on an underpinning logic, with assumptions, hypothesis, and decisions. This logic is easy to forget in textual documents and should be documented close to the strategy.
In some approaches to strategy development and modeling, such as in some business and enterprise architecture methods, the story and underpinning logic are only partially documented, leaving holes in understanding, workability, acceptability and agreeability.
Under the hood, how does Interweaving organise knowledge?
The preceding example was organised to illustrate key parts of how explicit knowledge is structured in the Interweaving practice.
See the Interweaving and Architecting Body of Knowledge for more information.
In the end, Interweaving is a human centric and work oriented practice focused on work people do with
/Anders W. Tell
Note 1: The term Interested Party is used since it is the preferred term by ISO and is more inclusive and suitable.
Note 2: Interweaving adds a key focus on what is salient and specific work-to-be-done. This force modellers and documented knowledge in point-of-views, and models to address people and specific work they do. The work-to-be-done implies that the Interested parties actually can use the knowledge in work they do, that they want accept it, and that the knowledge bridge people (is agreeable).
Note 3: The published research paper “A Method for Situating Capability Viewpoints” provides more information on situational views.
Anders is a Strategic Interweaver and Architect with international experiences on all levels, United Nation, EU, global, regional and national (standardisation) organisations, as well as national state agencies.