Category: Strategy

Catching the Right Wave

Strategy

“Timing” as the saying goes is everything.  That is certainly one of the main messages in the 2018 award winning documentary, General Magic.  The documentary tells the story of a start-up company that has been called “the most influential Silicon Valley company that no one has ever heard of.”  This Apple spin off saw the future in terms of “a computer in your pocket” (smart phone) and thought they could bring it to market in the early 90’s.

 

The documentary captures the thrill and excitement possessed by a group of young, really bright IT professionals who believed they could invent…

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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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Let’s Play Monopoly

Strategy

It is at the heart of every entrepreneur’s dream. To do something no one else is doing but lots of potential customers desperately want someone to do. Peter Thiel, founder of Paypal, phrases the key question as, “What valuable company is nobody building?” Obviously answering this question fits into the category “easier said than done?” In his book, Zero to One, Thiel provides insights that help us approach this question. 

 

It is certainly not a new revelation that bringing something new to the market and avoiding competition is a pathway to big profits.  In Blue Ocean Strategy, authors Kim and…

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Strategy is not Linear

Strategy

Strategy only looks clean and neat after it has proven successful.  The strategy diagrams show all the components fitting neatly together like a puzzle and all moving towards the desired outcome.  In hindsight, all the decisions look obvious.  Actually, it may be difficult from looking at a series of neat diagrams to know which ones resulted in success and which ones were huge failures. The diagrams are the product of tools like SWOT and scenario planning that guide strategist to make sense of their environments and identify competitive positions.  Such tools may give the impression that strategy can be…

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