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Strategy & Thinking

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Activity Map | Business Strategy. What is it? An activity map is a diagnostic tool to identify your organisations competitive advantage. It connects your organisation’s value proposition to the activities of your organisation that enable you to deliver this value proposition better than any competitors. When is it useful? Drawing the activity map is not easy.

However, once you have a good one, it is a very insightful strategic tool. Use you activity map to: Make incremental decisions about whether a new idea or opportunity fits the strategy. An Example? Southwest Airlines has a very robust strategy – one of the reasons it has been the most consistently profitable airline in the US. It’s activity map shows great fit – everything that it does is tailored to delivering its low cost, convenience, on-time, friendly but limited customer service. The interlinkages indicate that it is very hard for competitors to copy their strategy – a competitor would have to match them on multiple different areas at the same time. 7.Sense check : Closing the Chasm Between Strategy and Execution - Doug Sundheim. By Doug Sundheim | 11:00 AM August 22, 2013 Setting strategy is elegant. It’s a clean and sophisticated process of collecting and analyzing data, generating insights, and identifying smart paths forward.

Done at arm’s length in an academic fashion, tight logic is the only glue needed to hold ideas together. The output is a smooth narrative in a professional-looking document made up of Venn diagrams, 2×2 matrices, and high-level plans of attack. Then the trouble starts. The implication is obvious — strategists and executors must work together better to bridge these two worlds. When things fall apart, each points a finger at the other side. The easy solutions for this divide are the process solutions: better project management, clearer rules of engagement, and tighter operating policies.

Strategy and execution is a false dichotomy, unnaturally sheared apart in order to divide labor in increasingly complex organizations. The best strategists believe: The best executors believe: The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy. Editor’s Note: In 1979, Harvard Business Review published “How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy” by a young economist and associate professor, Michael E. Porter. It was his first HBR article, and it started a revolution in the strategy field. In subsequent decades, Porter has brought his signature economic rigor to the study of competitive strategy for corporations, regions, nations, and, more recently, health care and philanthropy.

“Porter’s five forces” have shaped a generation of academic research and business practice. With prodding and assistance from Harvard Business School Professor Jan Rivkin and longtime colleague Joan Magretta, Porter here reaffirms, updates, and extends the classic work. In essence, the job of the strategist is to understand and cope with competition. As different from one another as industries might appear on the surface, the underlying drivers of profitability are the same. The Five Forces That Shape Industry Competition Forces That Shape Competition.

The Big Lie of Strategic Planning. All executives know that strategy is important. But almost all also find it scary, because it forces them to confront a future they can only guess at. Worse, actually choosing a strategy entails making decisions that explicitly cut off possibilities and options. An executive may well fear that getting those decisions wrong will wreck his or her career. The natural reaction is to make the challenge less daunting by turning it into a problem that can be solved with tried and tested tools. That nearly always means spending weeks or even months preparing a comprehensive plan for how the company will invest in existing and new assets and capabilities in order to achieve a target—an increased share of the market, say, or a share in some new one. The plan is typically supported with detailed spreadsheets that project costs and revenue quite far into the future. By the end of the process, everyone feels a lot less scared. This is a truly terrible way to make strategy.

Thinking. 2012 Map of the Decade. A Century of Transformation, A Decade of Turbulence Today, even as the incumbent patterns are fading, a new world is taking shape. It's a world that will flourish by the end of the century. But the transition from old to new will bring turbulence. Seen through this lens of two curves—a descent of the familiar and the ascent of the as-yet-uncharted—the century presents itself as a classic two-curve problem.

The 2012 Map of the Decade offers an overview of the major forces that are shaping this century—and creating turbulence in the coming decade. Strategier. Social Problems. Problem solving. Strategy. Problem based learning. Strategy as a Wicked Problem. Over the past 15 years, I’ve been studying how companies create strategy—the most important responsibility of senior executives. Many corporations, I find, have replaced the annual top-down planning ritual, based on macroeconomic forecasts, with more sophisticated processes. They crunch vast amounts of consumer data, hold planning sessions frequently, and use techniques such as competency modeling and real-options analysis to develop strategy. This type of approach is an improvement because it is customer- and capability-focused and enables companies to modify their strategies quickly, but it still misses the mark a lot of the time.

Companies tend to ignore one complication along the way: They can’t develop models of the increasingly complex environment in which they operate. As a result, contemporary strategic-planning processes don’t help enterprises cope with the big problems they face. Wickedness isn’t a degree of difficulty. What Is a Wicked Problem? Wal-Mart has several options. Wicked problem. A wicked problem is a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. It refers to an idea or problem that can not be fixed, where there is no single solution to the problem. The use of the term "wicked" here has come to denote resistance to resolution, rather than evil.[1] Another definition is "a problem whose social complexity means that it has no determinable stopping point".[2] Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems.

Characteristics[edit] Rittel and Webber's 1973 formulation of wicked problems in social policy planning specified ten characteristics:[4] Conklin later generalized the concept of problem wickedness to areas other than planning and policy; Conklin's defining characteristics are:[6] Examples[edit] Background[edit] Strategies to tackle wicked problems[edit] Authoritative Competitive.