Ville Tolvanen // December 14 2018

Empty vision

It is often debated upon the need and definition of a vision. For some it is an unattainable, yet an inspiring, delusion and for others it is a concrete state in which one finds him/herself within a certain amount of time. The most important thing to remember, is that a vision is not a promise of a future.

I think building a clear vision is important in building a company. I myself am a fan of illusions, such as what “From Ideas to Life” is for Digitalist. But, it is important to bring the vision down to a qualitative and quantitative objectives. “In three years we have achieved X and Y, and we are Z..”

A good vision helps you to 1) prioritse the development projects and needs, 2) to start investing where needed in time, 3) to develop and create necessary things, 4) to communicate about the direction and amount of change adequately and most of all 5) to achieve quick wins and results for the strategy.

A VISION IS A GOAL, like any other goal. It’s like a finishing line of a marathon.

I always ask our clients: “Have you build a clear vision about the state of let’s say customer experience and where it will be in three years?” More often the answer is a “no”. I often wonder, out loud I might add, how one chooses the right projects, partners and goals without a clear view, a map, of there the ship is going.

Finnish leadership is very much affected by a way of thinking about fixing things one at a time. There is a lot of fixing, patching and improving done without a strong vision of a sustainable competitiveness.  Yesterday a client said: “We can’t compete in the 2020s with the tools of 1980s and we can’t do that with thoughts from the 1980s either.” Bullseye. The next decade is about platforms, ecosystems, and intelligence and it would be good to drag thinking into the future.

Visions often awaken worry and uncertainty. They include change, things that have not been done before, risks and whole new ways of thinking. For a pragmatist the whole mindset might seem strange. Still, by combining a thought about vision, that is also the goal, mindset and attitude, we create stories and ambitions, to which everyone can unite. 


– V

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