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  • Writer's pictureDavid Cope

The Anatomy of a Strategy to Save the World

I spoke at a strategy conference with this presentation recently. 'Bold title' I was told afterwards. Being bold is what strategy should be about is what I say.

At Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew we know that all life depends on plants and fungi. We have a belief that a greater understanding of properties and traits of the diversity of the plant and fungal kingdom can help solve some of the most critical challenges facing humanity this century. Plants and fungi are under threat, and we risk losing the diversity of nature before we can discover the precious secrets that it holds.

Our mission is to be the global resource for plant and fungal knowledge. We are rich in data and knowledge about the diversity of nature and the traits and properties of individual species. We want to work with other scientists and policy-makers all around the world to achieve these goals, but we have a deeper goal that we want society as a whole to understand the importance of plants and fungi, to value what that natural diversity can provide and therefore support their conservation.

We must inspire, engage and excite the public about the positive opportunities that plants and fungi can provide.

But why did I talk about the 'anatomy' of a strategy? If we are going to achieve bold things with our strategy, we need it to be a good strategy. A good strategy, in my view, needs to be full bodied, well rounded and with substance - it needs a head, heart and feet.

The 'head' of our strategy is wrapped up in understanding our impact in the world, our unique assets, our customers and markets and our finances. We connect with our customers and stakeholders intellectually and based on solid evidence. We are a scientific institution at our core and so the facts are fundamentally important.

The 'heart' of our strategy comes from the beauty of plants and fungi, their scents which evoke our emotions and the connection that people feel to our gardens and the cause that we hold so dear. In order to inspire and engage, we create experiences that people love. Our people are passionate about our mission and want to share that passion.

The 'feet' of our strategy is all about action. We have a bold ambition to save the world and in order to achieve that, we must be clear on what we need to do. We cannot achieve our goals by going out on our own, so we want to inspire action in others, and take action in partnership with others. An old colleague of mine said that their strategy was action, I share their enthusiasm.

We are one year into our current five-year strategy period. We take a long-term view of success, but I am pleased to say that we are on track.


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