Category: Strategy

How Much Should You Pay to Learn?

Strategy

In 1942, the British military leaders faced a very difficult choice. The war was going badly, their allies U.S. and Russia were pushing to do something bold, and British leadership didn’t see any good options. The Americans wanted to move quickly to invade France even though their troops were not battle tested. The Russians were getting hammered by the Germans and wanted Britain and the U.S. to start a second front in Europe to relieve the pressure.

The British had developed plans for a smaller invasion (Operation Jubilee) but all their military planners felt the most…

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Preparing for What Is Next

Strategy

Predicting the future is both extremely valuable and practically impossible. The further out you aim your predictions, the more difficult it becomes. So when futurists take a stab at painting a picture fifty or a hundred years in the future, we pay less attention to the specifics and more to the direction and the possibilities. In Mauro Guillen’s book 2030 (published in 2020), he takes a more reasonable time frame of just a decade. Not surprisingly, his book projects today’s technological breakthroughs and demographic certainties and concludes that by 2030 foundations will be laid for a different trajectory.

 

The book…

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Betting on the Future

Strategy

Daniel Burrus’ Flash Foresight, offer the unusual promise on the cover of helping the reader to “see the invisible and do the impossible.” Sounds less like a business best-seller and more like a magician’s spell book.

 

As a futurist, Burrus has an impressive track record of predicting developments in the technology field since the 1980’s. However, his methodology for seeing the invisible turns out to be his ability to see the hard trends and to anticipate the soft trends. Burrus defines a hard trend as “a projection based on measurable, tangible, fully predictable facts, events, or objects.” The central point…

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Create Tension and Find a Better Solution

Strategy

Several years ago, I read Roger Martin’s, The Opposable Mind, and immediately saw the need and opportunity for integrative thinking.  Martin proposes that we don’t have to choose between two unsatisfying paths but if we think deeply enough, we can identify a third path that captures the desired benefits of the other two.  After writing the book and promoting the concept, Martin realized  telling people they just needed to “think harder” didn’t help very much.  His latest book, Creating Great Choices, (co-authored with Jennifer Reil) provides the methodology to move beyond an interesting idea to an approach that helps…

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Hoping For the Worst

Strategy

Most effective decision-making approaches seek to identify risks and to create some mitigation strategies. But what if you could design a solution so you actually do better under worsening conditions.  This is part of the premise behind the concept of “Antifragility” introduced by Nassem Taleb who also gave us “The Black Swan” concept. (A difficult to predict event that has catastrophic consequences). 

 

When we develop complicated systems with lots of interdependent parts we create greater probabilities that failure will occur. So, we create additional systems and processes to raise the level of resilience and robustness. Taleb draws a distinction between resilience and…

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