To rethink is to think big
Order emerges from chaos. Futuristic leadership and strategic management cannot succumb to chaotic reality. This very often entails a change in mentality, as well as readapting and the introduction of innovative cultures.
To rethink is to think big, which means having a mind, equipment and a policy which unfold within a global vision, it also means being able to differentiate between options with possibilities from those which only appear to have them: to be able to draw-up projects and design processes with the object of creating value.
Think again is an english expression universally understood in the world of management. It gives a name to a process of creation of value, empirically designed and developed by the teams I have been managing for almost a decade in Multimedia Capital for the clients of this strategic communications consultants´ company.
All the projects and programmes carried out according to this process have, without exception, resulted in the creation of value for each of the organizations and their respective markets.
We will quote a few examples, starting with the new software programme for the development of simulation and measurement processes of global impact results on public opinion and markets.
We create this application not only to measure impacts produced by the communications media, but also to be able to dispose of a tool which will permit the effective development of one of the scientific advances which will be of greatest use to organizations, which is working with simulation systems.
This application, presented to the market as a Media Value System programme, allows the added value of communication to be measured (VAC). Today it is being used by some of the most competitive companies in the market to design, evaluate and measure the results of their communication impacts in relation to their strategic objectives – an innovation. What has traditionally been and is accounted for in companies as an expense-cost, becomes with this system an expense-investment for the creation of value at corporate level. A intangible of 10.000 millions (Pts.) value.
The process has been applied in other fields. The Digital Village project we created and directed for the Ministry of Education and Culture to set up, has achieved recognition as one of the most successful pioneer projects in Europe because of its value in the development of social and educational environments in the more peripheral and rural areas of the country. In 1997 it was “only” one idea…
…Then a project
In 1999 the mobil phone company Amena invest 10.000 millions pesetas to implement de full projet for 2.500 schools. What began by being a trial project in Teruel had to be introduced on a national scale within less than three months due to the demand from the rest of the Spanish communities.
The communications media has described the project as revolutionary and advanced in the extense bibliography they have produced about it, due to its innovative character and the proof that creation of value has been a reality for the population at large, the participating companies (Microsoft, Telefónica, Sun Microystems…) and the public educational system as a whole.
The process can be easily seen when applied to an economic and financial market reality. The price paid for the privatisation of a company went up 2,5 times when the market perceived and admitted to a higher potential in its organization and the future of its market.
The process has also been applied to one of the most innovative metropolitan projects. When the executives of the Bilbao-Metropoli 30 Association, which has more than 108 companies and institutions, asked us, in 1996, to carry out a study on the potential and expectations of their metropolitan project, we concluded that they were facing one of the most innovative urban, business and cultural projects in Europe. The study, which was edited and published, predicts (as opposed to the controversy caused by its detractors at the time) that the Guggenheim Museum “will lend an emblematic image of Bilbao to the World”.
Since its inauguration in 1998, none of the most influential communications media in the world has failed to recognize this as true.
The dynamic structure of this process has acquired shape as a strategic communications consulting programme, where all the communications resources which have been created and programmed, with the help of multidisciplinary groups, such as economists, physicists, engineers journalists and computer experts, converge. A standard model has been drawn-up so that it can be developed and applied according to individual needs: a complex development, to make it quantifiable in terms of economic and business accounts.
A global impact is developed because that is the way to create value directly, as well as creating it in all the components that make up a company, such as its properties, its commercial funds and human resources value, its operating costs, its market and social leadership and the value of the company in the market.
Know-how and map of action
In the summer of 1998, I presented The Added Value of Communication in the course that took place in El Escorial, and I spoke about the part which deals with the theory and application of the new methodological system for creating value and measuring intangibles.
One of the teachers who attended the session, who was also an engineer, drew everyone’s attention to the difficulty of applying a project of this kind because of the opposition to change and innovation from bureaucracy and traditional management.
I then explained to the audience that this was a fact and, bearing this in mind, one of the things that had taken us the longest, was designing a system which would allow the process to be launched before the ever increasing opposition to it neutralized or made the process fail.
This was a subject which we discussed with José Ignacio López de Arriortúa in a meeting organized by the company Retevisión in the Segovia Parador because, this engineer, who has been director of the world’s greatest automobile companies, had presented opposition to change within an organization as the force capable of destroying the process of exponential growth.
In both our projects, and the consultancy’s cooperation with clients, we have been able to develop the processes into 9 different integrated areas; in a lot of cases with conflicting interests, in others with traditional practices and divisory systems of work, almost always governed by linear and bureaucratic concepts of things.
The evolution of added value of communication results are measured according to impacts, by means of this software programme created by Multimedia Capital.
But it is research, and work done previously in laboratories, that enables us to design a process and visualize it in its different phases, including the final results phase, and this becomes the guide-axle-engine which acts both as a catalyst and a dominating factor. The process acquires the impact of an emerging force.
The same occurs with impact processes on public opinion. The treatment and design they require are highly complex because they are subject to all kinds of contamination – to a reality dominated by atomization, excess and confusion in which appearance is more important than results. But knowledge, technique and the systems applied in this process surpass the “sound barrier” which is what consolidates projects and organizations in both markets and society, creating value both for themselves and their entourage.
Research, the development of new systems of analysis and evaluation, as well as the selective distribution of knowledge, form part of the structured process in its different phases.
The Think Again programme represents a dynamic and selective process, beginning with a system of Research and Applied Communication (R+AC). Unlike the traditional R+D, in our system, research is developed with methods of applied communication in direct relation to the exact objects which create value. In this way, we will be able to know and visualize, from the very outset of the whole process, in what scenarios it should be developed and what the results will be.
A system which permits a faster return and the development of what we have called the launching effect: the latter is a decisive factor in the process as it allows all opposition to change to be overcome, thus making the change irreversible.
Management of knowledge has appeared among the concepts and titles which have become fashionable as an intellectual and technological tool. But knowledge is not, in itself, enough to create and add value. You have to be in possession of the necessary know-how and tools, in order to attain the knowledge required or necessary for carrying out a certain action, and then, to boost the development of the creation of value to its maximum potential.
It is useless to think that this “know-how” can be found within our company or institution. It may or may not be there, the important thing is to be able to count on this know-how, and to inject our companies nervous systems with the necessary dose of knowledge and how to apply it, in order to develop an active, efficient and profitable entity.
To rethink means not to stop thinking. If the human being’s life plan has changed, moving from a chain of consecutive cyclical phases (education, work, free time, retirement) to a process of global and continued development, based on permanent training and being an active member of society – the same is occurring in organizations – both people and companies have become “one thing”.
It is global vision which guides leadership and global vision requires a powerful dose of organization and management throughout its development.
When we talk about global leadership, we refer to its intellectual and cultural capacity to lead organizations and institutions with an effective result in the creation of economic and social value.
To convert the future into realistic and concrete prospects of growth, having faith in new options and opportunities, is to convert time into an increasingly more valuable asset, making the intangibility of a person’s feelings and of group perception the very reason for change – positive mobilisation, which is required in order for projects to meet their objectives and be successful.
An efficient process of creation of value has to take into account the complexity that encompasses the global concept itself, as well as the intangible values which it defends in order to later define and perceive its results.
If mankind, following Socrates’ philosophy, has gone from monologue to dialogue and has finally reached the explosion of public opinion, the market has evolved from being monopolistic to being a multi-competitive one, and, finally, to atomization as the sign of a new reality which is uncontrollable in terms of the way we have been educated until the end of the 20th century, but one which is nonetheless brought together by means of new cultures, methods and innovative systems arising and developing.
Communication, science in its solid state
One only thinks “again” about something after having thought about it before. To think again is, moreover, to have to rethink.
An intelligent process which in its turn begins and develops through communcation -interactivity is communication; contents, technology, processes – science in its pure state.
One talks about “intellectual capital” within the company in the same way as one talks about strategic thought in history and, more commonly now, about intelligent class rooms, intelligent cards, intelligent buildings. Mankind naturally associates communication with
They say it was Socrates who introduced the idea that the way to develop intelligence began with human communication. Nowadays, communication has become the main reason for everything else. Time and space have come to depend on communication. The creation of value depends on information and communication. [Read ‘The discovery of information as system of systems‘]
[Published in 2002]