Years ago - we helped the Dimension Data sales team 'imagine the impossible' through a series of futuristic alternate reality games that we created for them - translating the company's business strategy document into an engaging multi-layered exploration for staff to discover.
Year-after-year we took things to new experiential levels; we flew teams down to Cape Town to follow clues to various 'Amazing Race' activities around the city, we created a huge 3D projection mapping vision of a possible future for the business, which was shown on a massive stage which we built and worked with fiction authors like Lauren Beukes to really make their sales conference content come alive.
It was incredibly progressive for the time.
By using science fiction and some pretty advanced entertainment technology to immerse the staff and teams in their vision of the future; we created wholehearted buy-in of the business strategy which resulted in Dimension Data having some incredible successful years while we were involved.
The value of using science fiction as a tool to share the strategic vision on the company was that it, in many ways, suspended any mental reservation that staff may have had towards the big vision.
In an article published in INC Magazine this week - they argue something very similar to what we have experienced.
'Science fiction is all about speculation and creativity, two qualities that could allow both companies and professionals to remain - or become - relevant in the face of our rapidly changing world.'
'Truly innovative players look to longer time horizons, reframing perceptions to explore new products or technologies with few financial or technological barriers to hamper creativity.
In "Futurecasting," science fiction serves as a powerful catalyst for suspending disbelief. Conversely, incumbents, which often operate as if the world were linear, stable and predictable, are more likely to use strategic analysis when planning their next steps. Similarly, their shareholders tend to be more prone to preferring measurable, quantifiable returns around predictable investment cycles -- all strategies that under-value imagination and under-prioritize innovation.'
Innovation thrives under conditions where your mental capacity is unbounded.
The use of science fiction as a framework to facilitate that level of free thinking is incredibly useful. Having used it many times myself and having facilitated the process with numerous clients over the years, is more that enough proof that the investment in this type of futures thinking is certainly worth it.