The role of a Project Visionary
The visionary is an individual who understands the business as well as the technology, and who has the ability to detect trends and to project ahead, to perceive future opportunities based on weak signals.
Trends may be technological, socioeconomic, political, regulatory, social and cultural. There’s much to track and feel, but amidst this the visionary essentially has a sense of good design principles (product, organisation, system, service or of the senses) and an intuition for what would make a good experience for a customer.
The visionary can tell a story, build a model and communicate a picture of the desirable state to which people can aspire. At the same time, due to the potency of the narrative and the influence of the visionary’s status as an expert, the visionary must be self-aware and wary of the effects of cognitive bias.
Indeed, the visionary role would be the most important in a project, were it considered to be a role at all. And yet, in any activity where the design of a product, service or systems experience is part of the project, the role of the visionary can be observed. However, without a degree of definition for the role, the project can lose sight of the vision and purpose of the project. By acknowledging the pivotal contribution of the role, the competencies of a visionary can be recognised and developed.