Feb 12, 2012

Strategy, Intuition and Analysis

I believe that the strategy toolbox offers a useful set of tools to order and frame thinking about strategic issues. So the tools are limited, if one or a few are taken as "the" approach, especially if used without understanding the tacit knowledge element they can convey. 

One of these elements should be to think differently, outside the usual box - to develop risk scenarios and to envisage new approaches to or domains of business. Otherwise, if every strategist thinks BCG and 5 forces most companies will end up doing roughly the same in better or worse ways. 

Thus, what matters is the teachable but difficult to formalize way of thinking of a strategist, which means that economics, politics, history, philosophy as well as psychology and sociology as well as math, statistics, OR, and natural science (physics, chemistry, biology) can offer relevant models and mind sets to engage in strategy. For instance, I liked history a lot and learned I believe quite something about thinking in developments and scenarios as much as I learned about macro systems and variation from evolutionary theory. 

Knowledge about pertinent business domains is obviously useful - however, only up to the point that it does not blind the strategist - but how do you discover the cut-off point?! - Let's assume it is the mid to end 70s: Is the young guy in front of you talking about ... say computers on every desk and how to place them there a wacky lunatic or visionary business man - and if he is one of the two for you ... how big is the divide between the two? 

For me this points to the importance of the combination of creativity and intuition with formalized research and analysis, the specific tools are secondary, but what they can create in 'prepared mind' matters.

No comments: