The Five Fundamentals Of De-risking Change: 2. Vision vs. Detail

The Five Fundamentals Of De-risking Change: 2. Vision vs. Detail

Introducing the second topic in our five fundamentals for de-risking change series: vision vs. detail. i-Realise Chairman Chris Collins shares his insights

Communicating a vision requires a knack for presenting the future simply and schematically, whereas implementation will fail without a good understand of detail. Designing a new process or operating model is like designing a building – the architect’s sketch or impression is effectively used to sell the architect’s vision. A builder cannot build from this, but instead needs an engineering drawing which is precise and detailed. However, this detail and precision would get in the way of putting the architect’s ideas across inspiringly.

Elements of a vision

The primary objective is to persuade others of your design. Detail and precision can get in the way. However, just sketching your design at a high level won’t necessarily achieve this.

Firstly, a high-level sketch won’t necessarily explain the differences and benefits of your design from the current one or an alternative. The sketch will need selective levels of detail, highlighting specifics that make your design different and better.

Secondly your design must address the needs of the audience. Some are gripped by a stirring vision; others want to understand the benefits and most want to know what’s in it for them.

A picture accompanied by motivational words will address the first audience. The second audience will need more numbers and examples, whereas the third audience will want to understand how the new design will help them in their jobs and their careers.

Typically, the tools and techniques for communicating a vision necessarily allow a lot of latitude for the designer to be creative in communicating the vision. They are taught by example more than by hard and fast rules.

Detail and precision

There are available standards for ensuring the correct level of detail and precision, such as BPMN for processes and DMN for decisions. Process modelling tools help to ensure that the standards are being followed and that all the elements of design fit into a coherent whole.

These standards are important even for the design of manual processes,but become essential when designing automated processes. Good process tools can automatically test designs with simulation and even automate them with workflow.


Typically, AS-IS analysis is carried out at a detailed and precise level. A good methodology will allow you to capture an AS-IS process and its current operational issues quickly with the right people in the workshop. Detail is essential to ensure that neither important business cases nor issues are missed.

Once root causes have been identified, these detailed maps can be abstracted to produce sketches that enable the communication of the root causes and opportunities as a call to action.

If management have a vision for the new operating model, the TO-BE process can be pure top-down, starting with design principles and progressing through sketches of how these principles will be achieved through to detailed design.

Where there is no clear vision, a problem-driven approach may be more appropriate – driving out change ideas that will address the root causes.


Ensuring you have a compelling vision and the detail to back it up are both critical to the success of any change programme. The trick is to understand which audiences need which and at what point.

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