by Daniel Lambert

The strategy journey

Feb 05, 2018
Digital TransformationIT StrategyTechnology Industry

An interview with Julie Choo, lead author of the book “The Strategy Journey: Transform your Business in the Digital Age,” to be published later this year.

What is your book about?

The book is a guidance system full of templates, tools, case study examples and expertise from many industries thought leaders and practitioners, on how to build the foundations or architecture that unpin the growth, sustainability and ongoing transformation of a business and organisation in the current digital ecosystem.

Who is your book for?

The book is for anyone who wants to enhance and structure their own entrepreneurial capabilities as well as the entrepreneurial culture and practices within their business or organisation. It can be used by start-up founders, owners of growing and expanding business, or global corporate executives, and in multiple roles across an organisation. Many industry sectors are covered including financial services and fintech, energy, automotive, health, technology, media & telecommunications, engineering and manufacturing, food, consumer goods and retail, public sector and more…

How does your book differ from other strategy books?

Other strategy books only cover one part of the full lifecycle of business and organisational change, with many focused either in designing strategies that aren’t that easily executable or into the detail execution lifecycles of project management and delivery, without the alignment to strategy. This leaves a gap between strategy design and strategy execution. I call this the silos across strategy itself.

Many people also don’t consider what they do in their business or organisation as strategy or that they can play a part in their organization’s strategy to help it become a game-changer. The Strategy Journey, as the title suggests is about the journey itself, and how to be strategic in everything that you do from developing products to servicing customers and operational activities that support the business – it is a ‘HOW TO GUIDE’ on how everyone in an organisation can take part in the co-creation process, to iterate, prototype, and continuously design and execute strategy, while delivering value to customers and stakeholders.

The book is also full of tools and templates with real life case studies, and uniquely, the book is full of illustrations that makes it read like a comic book, to help the reader become more creative and entrepreneurial.

You mention 5 stages to a business’s strategy journey. What are they briefly?

The Mission Model, how to form blueprint and a game plan which is closely aligned to your goals to turn your business vision into reality.

The Business Model, how to define your customer model and proposition model to turn a profit and deliver ROI.

The Value Model, how to differentiate your business through the value chain and the customer journey.

The Operating Model, learn to manage your team and optimise resources, including your people, processes, data and systems, as well as new digital technologies like AI and Blockchain, to deliver outcomes that align to your strategy.

And finally, the Transformation Model, in which the tools from The Strategy Journey framework help you to transform your business with agility and manage change in a way that ensures sustainability.

I don’t want to just list the names as we are still in the process of curating the best case studies, but we do blend how big tech giants like Amazon, Google and International Banks have evolved over time, with how new start-ups and small businesses from across different sectors including your local Veterinarian or Dentist, and local Dance or Pilates Studio, as well as the latest Tech start-ups who are using Blockchain, are able to participate and grow, sustain, or even disrupt in their ecosystems using digital.

Your book’s case studies cover both big corporates as well as small businesses, and even start-ups. How can your book apply to companies of such different sizes?

The book can cover all these different businesses, because it is about the business lifecycle itself and how to be innovative within it, and to be strategic at all times. Every big company was once small and when it gets bigger, then the question is how does it keep changing or does it need to get smaller to be innovative.

Are your case studies extracted for your personal experiences?

Yes, many of the case studies are based on my personal experiences helping business and organisations. Many are based on the personal experiences of our many co-creators too. There are many experts involved who have contributed some of their expertise to this book. Our objective is to provide guidance through practical examples and to helps from our lessons learnt.

What’s in it for CIOs?

Every business and organisation need to become digital and operate with intelligence in our new digital ecosystem and learn how to transform. They must keep up with the past of change, where companies are cycling through their strategy journey in less than 10-15 years and in cases just 5-7 years or less instead of over 100 years. It’s a case of ‘Evolve or Evaporate’. The CIO’s role in the strategy journey is key, as they are the ones with the skills and capabilities to lead this change, with their understanding of their organisations processes, data, and how people and technology can be leveraged – so the whole operating model – to support the organisations evolution. We are also moving into service centric world driven by information technology. Many CIOs are no longer just responsible for supporting these business services, but they should lead these business services. The book and framework can help CIOs to bridge this transition into becoming business leads, with the right structure and governance, and to transform their organisations using information technology (IT), not just with tools and systems but with innovative behaviours and with a creative and transformation driven mindset that is aided by process, data and technology.

You’ve used crowdfunding to finance your book. How was the experience?

Crowdfunding through Kickstarter has helped us to reach customers across the globe to showcase what the book is about and how it can help businesses. It is a lot of work to run the campaign to market the book, but its was worth in the end as we successfully overfunded.

Can you tell me about yourself?

I’m an engineer and techie by background originally who was fascinated by business because my father was an entrepreneur, so I have sought to combine the two in my career. I have spent over 15 years working for big banks, large multinational corporates to develop or build new platforms, to co-create new strategies while managing execution, and more recently, I have been helping many start-ups to get off the ground, scale, and even exit. I love to take old theories and practices and test them to their limits in the real world, to find out how I can improve them, so you will a lot of this in the book. Right now, I am particularly focus on how and when to use and apply blockchain as a technology.

How much of your book is already written? When will your book be ready?

All the templates in the book have been designed so the companion workbook is ready to launch must earlier in March-April 2018, but the actual book is about 50-60% completed. We are now looking at developing the relevant case studies to enrich the learning experience for readers. The digital version is expected to launch in July 2018. I can’t control the publishing times so hopefully our hard copies are ready just a few months after the digital launch – I’m told definitely by November 2018.