September 25, 2023

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Martin Weigel Imagines A Better Future for Strategy and Strategists

People inside and outside the agency business sometimes wonder what strategy is and how it works.

Strategy is about creating change and transformation, according to Martin Weigel, chief strategy officer at AMV BBDO. I’m glad he is in the mood to explain the strategic offering and argue for its value.

Let’s look at just one paragraph from his recent Contagious article:

The inconvenient truth for those who believe that strategy’s primary working method and tool is research is that there is no data about the future. By its very nature, all data is from the past. Seductive though that subjectivity-and-human-free proposition might be for some, we cannot simply analyse our way to a desired future. The only way we can get our hands on and engage with the future is to imagine it. So before it is anything else, strategy is the very human act of imagination. ‘Seeing’ what does not yet exist. Seeing things as they could be. As we would want them to be.

Does your organization have a Chief Imagination Officer? Probably not, but the tasks that such a person would perform can’t be left undone. To make a more perfect future for your company or cause, you have to turn big dreams into new realities, and according to Weigel, you don’t do that incrementally. Instead, you start a revolution.

To recap, when hiring a strategist you’re looking for an alchemist and visionary who is informed by data but not constrained by it. A change agent who will do more than challenge the status quo. A person who is not content with simply providing business insights to the creative team.

Weigel’s article also mentions a study by PWC that says 40 percent of CEOs don’t think their company will be economically viable in ten years. It’s a call to action for strategy providers and a reminder of how much work there is to be done and how important it is for all of us (who solve business problems for a living) to use our imaginations.


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