Join Rita's Mailing List!


Analysts or business designers in today’s strategy work?

A LinkedIn Question went like this:

Is business strategy as we teach it in Harvard Case Studies Obsolete? Do we need to develop business designers and not strategic planners?

Traditioal strategic planning takes a linear left brain abstract approach to business development and looking at business opportunities. Most famous tool in the toolbox being a SWOT analysis. Business Designing is a more right brain wholistic visual approach to identifying and creating business models, strategy and opportunities. Business designers love to create "business models" as a way of thinking about change. According to Ms. Kay Plantes: "Business model innovation starts with challenging hidden assumptions

Here is my answer:

 There are several assumptions in the conventional, industry-focused and analytically intense view of strategy that no longer hold in an increasing number of categories.  First, the notion of industry as the fundamental analytical focus – more and more we are dealing with questions of inter-industry competition.  Second, the idea that the core goal of strategy is to create a sustainable advantage – today, more advantages are not sustainable than are. Third, a fundamental confusion between strategy and planning. They are two different things – strategy is about external views, determining how you are going to achieve objectives, and planning is about how to link up the necessary resources. Fourth, an increasing emphasis on category evolution and ecosystem partners. 

I would not say that the "answer" is go switch to business designers, as absent an informed external perspective you are designing in a vacuum. 

Have a look at the article about AG Lafley's leadership – it gets directly at this question. 

Filed In: ,

No Comments