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online mobile in offline and why it’s wrong

Margot Langsdorf from PSFK on Vimeo.

A good reminder of a few things. There’s not offline and online. Connectivity is simply a new dimension and mobile is hence about mobility. Which means there’s confusion to be experienced when/if working on mobile strategy and digital strategy and social strategy. Maybe it’s best to just talk about strategic planning and thinking for being real world ready…

The holistic approach to digital strategy is simply about the real world

In the article Why Nordstrom’s Digital Strategy Works (and Yours Probably Doesn’t), from Harvard Business Review, the three authors (from MIT Sloan School of Management, MIT Sloan’s Center for Information Systems Research and University of Texas at Austin) stress the fact that although a great number of respondents (in their research) expect competitive advantage from SMACIT technologies (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, IoT) – it’s unlikely to happen. Those technologies are rather minimum requirements, and highly available to boot.

The trick lies in how you combine, deploy and use them. Yes, that’s when you add a strategy behind it all. But as is often the case with strategy – it’s mostly a word used (bantered) and rarely a concept well practiced. Reasons being lack of a true aim, a real problem to overcome, no sober discussion around strengths to focus on and weaknesses to accept, overly unrealistic expectation (feels good and looks good, but doesn’t help with crafting strategy that actually helps) etc. So it’s unlikely to happen not because it can’t happen, but because the concept of strategy is so poorly practiced.

The Nordstrom example they use highlights the difference between disparate initiatives in different parts of an organisation – masquerading as digital strategy – versus a coherent and holistic approach that realizes that a powerful digital strategy that actually accomplishes something has to take the full picture into account. Not mobile. Not social. But how everything fits together in the real world, and in real situations, with the business in the center.

This is not a matter of having the best apps, analytics, or social media tools. Instead, it’s a matter of tending to the details of building integrated digital capabilities, one at a time, making the right data accessible, and simplifying processes. Most retailers will struggle to do this because they haven’t architected their product or customer data for easy access by the new digital capabilities. Without those core capabilities, integration with and among new digital capabilities is virtually impossible.

  • building integrated…
  • data accessible
  • processes
  • easy access
  • integration

Notice how all of that has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with how people are going to work with it. And that demands understanding why it’s needed at all (what can we do better, i.e. what problem do we have today). These aspects revolve around the business, they highlight the importance of stakeholder alignment, cross departmental understanding, processes etc.

The authors sign off by suggesting that we Develop a strategy for succeeding in the digital economy—a purpose that leverages your unique capabilities and responds to market opportunities. Then grab every technology that takes you there.

And thinking about how to succeed in the digital economy is, of course, equally thinking about how to be real world ready. So if strategy is a word that sets the wrong tone and triggers the wrong associations – just make it about the real world.

brutal focus, simplicity and consequence

An example of brutal simplicity and great (for some) value is this little alarm clock that goes off if it’s sunny, and you really should get outside, and doesn’t if the weather is shit. Perfect for weekends and holidays.

Nivea Sun, Sun Alarm App from AgênciaClick Isobar on Vimeo.

do your exercise or experience blackout

Slightly more advanced idea here, but brutally focused and determined to actually work. Many digital services can fail at solving the real “flesh life problem” because they can be forgotten about, overlooked or – due to laziness and self-deception – not used enough or discontinued altogether. Sure, positive motivational drivers can be effective or maybe even more effective than threat of loss, but that’s another discussion.

From PSFK:

The FitBit tracker is able to monitor and log in various activities such as steps taken, amount of sleep, and calories burned. The hack works by connecting WeMo, an Internet-controlled power outlet, to the FitBit device. When a certain goal isn’t achieved, the power outlet automatically turns off, shutting down connected electronic devices like a gaming console, computer, or even the fridge.

The online/offline marriage is really interesting when the two, if you will, have real consequences and effects for each other should [criteria] not be met. The quantified-self-fork from this years’ CES is one example where this is highly relevant. Let’s call it real life gamification, where the game ain’t necessarily all fun…

nifty thinking from Evernote

I find the intersection of offline and online things really interesting. I’ve been collecting some interesting links which you can find on my pinboard (which I switched to when talks of Delicious would be discontinued, and now I can’t be arsed to move back and frankly I like Pinboard.in). Whether or not we are post-digital per definition I find irrelevant. But the many things happening as we mix it all up is great. We’re becoming less digital-hyped and coming more to terms with an increasingly large chunk of digital aspects and touch points in our lives.

Here’s a really nifty idea by Evernote. I’m sure everyone knows about them, but if not, you simply need to have a look.