Alison Hoad

The future of planning

Bring on the triple loop thinkers

The chief strategy officer of Publicis.Poke thinks planners need to challenge assumptions of how 'right' is defined

By Alison Hoad

When I consider the future of planning, I’m looking for Triple Loop Thinkers.

Triple Loop Thinking was inspired by organisational psychologists Chris Argyris and Edgar Schon in the '70s. The analytical framework differentiated between Single Loop Thinking (are we doing things right?), Double Loop Thinking (are we doing the right things?) and highlighted Triple Loop Thinking (what assumptions underpin how we define ‘right’?).

Future planners will need to call-out and challenge those implicit Triple Loop assumptions within tomorrow’s markets, sectors and brands. The pace of technological disruption, geo-political change and cultural diversity means that we will need to continually frame and reframe the markets where we operate.

A global success story like Peloton is built on a Triple Loop challenge – Why does Exercise have to be such Hard Work? This allowed them develop a business model and community to maximise customers fitness goals while building a billion dollar franchise. The equipment is sold with class packages and leader boards to keep people motivated and performing to their best. But to sustain this growth trajectory, Peloton cannot stand still – new products and bundles will need to be developed.

The latest brand strategy from our client Morrisons tackles a Triple Loop assumption – Why can’t Food be a Force for Good? This inspired a platform around ‘Making Good Things Happen’ which puts sustainability stories at the heart of consumer communications.

Morrisons will undoubtedly need to stay ahead of the pack with innovations that deliver for people, planet and profit. This February, they were the first supermarket to partner with coffee pod recycling scheme ‘Podback’ and Morrisons have just announced the launch of Planet Friendly Eggs- the first carbon-neutral supermarket eggs on the market produced using circular waste feed products.

The best planners have always been creative strategists, cultural hackers and insight hounds but the pace of change now compels us to challenge and pioneer new business models to thrive in the fast-moving contexts where we compete.

Bring on the Triple Loop Thinkers – where Creative and Commercial Strategy meet.

Alison Hoad is chief strategy officer of Publicis.Poke


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