Blog 18.5.2020

Leading situational awareness

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We are living in a time that requires us to make complex management decisions based on inadequate knowledge. Situational awareness enables us to find and take a direction into more comprehensive, factual, and proactive decision-making. It implies a holistic view described with the help of a computational and knowledge-based data models.

Now is the time to move gradually to co-management and co-creation ways of working. It is time to forget partial optimisation and create common purposeful goals beyond organisational silos. To move towards a common goal, where impact – not production – is the key. To capture the large initiatives, recognising the total impact of decisions, anticipating, and responding quickly to changes.

Does it sound like a utopia?

Perhaps, especially if you work in an organisation where decision-making is still done in the traditional way in each business unit, isolated from others. In which decisions have to be made based on the best guesses, because there is no knowledge about the overall effects, causes and consequences. Where no one has time to think about goals, because deciding on action is considered more important.

What are the benefits of a situational awareness snapshot?

When considering whether it is worth starting the exercise, remember that there are so many good, even excellent possible outcomes. There are at least four reasons why you should start:

  1. A common understanding of the situation creates the possibility to perceive what various actions mean for the whole and what their impact is on the overall goal.
  2. Creating a snapshot of the situation is based on the needs of the people and customers, rather than the needs of a single interest group.
  3. Through a snapshot, leadership shifts to creating situational awareness-based understanding, instead of refining technical information. The analysis of the accumulated knowledge becomes the starting point of the discussion, not the end result.
  4. It is no longer necessary to lead the whole with averages and approach the problems with universal solutions.

Situational snapshots can be created to support management at both strategic and operational levels. Different information is needed and used at different levels.

What is the likely future?

Many would certainly like to know what the future holds. There is no crystal ball, but by combining advanced analytics and system dynamics, you can make predictions about what the probable future scenarios are. Then a completely new twist can be found, for example, in resource planning or investments.

When importing products into the market or considering the service capacity and dimensioning of public service delivery, decisions no longer need to be made by gut feeling or glancing in the rear-view mirror. These can be done with proactive situational awareness snapshots.

Setting out over a low threshold

Co-operation and mobilisation are essential. Common goal-setting, agenda and co-management will only be learned by experiencing the benefits it offers – by creating the first model and the first image together.

Nobody knows what will come of it. Unknown challenges are solved by experimenting and learning. Together.

Petri Takala

Artificial Intelligence

Data ja AI


Petri Takala

At the time when this text was published, Petri "Pepi" Takala worked at Gofore as a principal consultant in the field of data-supported leadership and management.

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