Defining "Visioneering"

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Defining "Visioneering" as Imagination + Invention

Disruption...Innovation...TAM...Culture...Mindset...Growth...Hacking...Lean...  It's a wonder anything actually gets done in the midst of developing a common understanding of each of these powerful terms.

So, what is "Visioneering"?  Like any "buzz term", a simple web search will yield a bunch of different definitions.

What's my take?

Visioneering is the discipline of imagining the future and engineering a process to invent the imagined future. 

There are two distinct functions in Visioneering:  Imagination & Invention.  Before anyone can "invent" the future, they need to "imagine" it.

In my professional travels as a software engineer, sales guy, hacker, biz dev exec, starving entrepreneur, consultant....I'm amazed how many really smart people I've encountered who can imagine the future...but rarely have the ability or desire to invent it. 

There are a bunch of reasons these folks don't or can't take that next step (I'm sure a post will come on that...;))...some of which are things like personal commitments or circumstance, market dynamics, lack of skill or resources, etc...etc.

Fundamentally, the easiest part is to imagine the future.  It simply requires you look at the world, society, market, technology, or whatever through an alternate lens.  So close your eyes and dream...get pissed off at something...get drunk with some buddies....get distracted from your job and day dream....then imagine the future.

Now when it comes to doing something about it or to invent the future, there are several base steps that need to happen:

  1. You first need to believe it's possible and commit to giving it a reasonable attempt.  How many people have you met imagine a new future only to convince themselves it can't be done or fail at even trying? 
  2. Once you've bought in, then can you start the process to block every nay sayer you encounter by effectively creating a nay sayer shield.  The shield absorbs the constructive stuff to tune your approach, and rejects the bull shit that could kill your future before it starts.
  3. Finally, after you've hardened yourself to the elements, you start to recruit an army of resources to champion your future....

So if it were this easy, why aren't more people doing it?  Or why aren't we seeing anything change or feeling the effects?  Well the truth is, we experience it everyday and there are millions of people Visioneering (imagining and inventing the future) everyday.  Some will succeed, like the big garage startups we all hear about, and many will fail, like many of the startups, political or social leaders you hear about (or never hear about).  Bottom-line, these individuals make reasonable attempts to Visioneer and chart their own path.

But what about the large behemoth organization like a large enterprise?  Many times, these organizations have institutionalized barriers to prevent mutinous activity.   However, these enterprises can't control the mutinous activity outside of their organization thus large enterprises end up being the targets of pirates who are Visioneering an alternate future without them.

With all of today's startup activity and energy, large enterprises are large barges that are mandated, generally by the financial system that governs the company, to stay the course and shield against disruption rather than participate in it.  Any deviation would challenge the predictability of a financial model that drives operations. 

Many of these companies are also trying to be "growth" companies.  This amplifies an internal debate that stresses the culture of an organization resulting in significant gridlock and inactivity.  Ultimately, large enterprises suffer from that which makes them great.  They have the ability to "move the needle", yet cannot execute on which needle to move, who in the organization should move it, or how to move it.

For many years, startups were synonymous with disruption.  But why should startups have all of the fun?

Now, Imagine if we were able to activate large enterprises to participate in market and/or social disruption and participate in the natural order of disruption.  This means that these organizations need the ability and desire to empower itself to Visioneer.  In a series of blog posts, we'll explore what it means to enable organizations to build a Visioneering culture and "Activate Enterprise Disruption™".

Stay tuned for more on what BIG Visioneering is up to and we'd love to hear your thoughts...


That was a thought provoking read Dipak. As you know I have had the good fortune (or bad depending on how you look at it) of experiencing exactly that within such a large enterprise. While large organizations can "rope off" visioneer budgets, teams and initial work efforts, the real successes that emerge will inevitably have to cross the chasm into the mainstream. How does an organization best architect that on-ramp and what processes are needed to block the organizational attempts at phagocytosis that will inevitably arise? Would enjoy
hearing everyone's thoughts on that as this blog continues....

Interesting challenge, Chris.  I'm finding that large private companies without financial "expectations" or predicibility (like public companies) are more receptive to internal disruption and potential canibalization.  The challenge many public company CFO's have is accountability of a NEW asset class, revenue stream/model, or expense function.  Fundamentally, a "startup" type of win to a public company CFO can not be accounted for, predicted, nor bugdeted for.

Now imagine what Dell will be able to accomplish when it goes private...  This will be interesting to see....

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