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Planning for an Uncertain Future: 8 steps in Scenario Planning

A recent article in MIT Sloan Management Review, “Using Scenario Planning to Reshape Strategy,”[i] indicated a resurgence of scenario planning that initially gained recognition in the 1960s and 70s. Royal Dutch/Shell has been the ‘poster child’ of success using scenario planning to address the instability and uncertainty during the 1973 oil crisis. I was fortunate…
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First Publication in the Book Series Exploratory PD is Now Available

Exploratory Product Development: Executive Version is the introduction to this new product development methodology. It will be followed later this year by a process volume that provides further detail, plus supporting tools and techniques. This executive version examines the organizational constraints imposed by a standard phased-and-gated product development process. We discuss why those constraints are…
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Why Traditional Strategy Does Not Win

Traditional strategy development assumes that markets/industries are stable, but today that is not the rule for most firms. Strategy is built upon certain vital assumptions about the external environment and about what the firm can control. For example, the external environment includes competitor activity, customer needs, technological developments, economic trends and regulatory changes. Virtually all…
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Strategy and Uncertainty

When developing strategy, we have to make assumptions about the future of technology, customer needs and economic trends; in particular, what will change and how. Because the future is uncertain, we face the risk that our assumptions, and thus our strategy, are wrong. A traditional approach to creating strategy can be described as a waterfall. …
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The Myth of Doubling Down

It is tempting, when witnessing a failure of product development, to blame the people. Why? Because the company has invested substantial resources installing a product development process that follows the best practices of the day. They probably also installed an expensive software tool that promised to streamline the process. On top of that, they trained…
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