Developing Strategy

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Strategy For and With AI

Executives intent on exploiting AI to enhance processes or products tend to focus on having a strategy for AI. But creating strategy with AI can matter as much or even more. In a machine-learning era, enterprise strategy is defined by the KPIs that leaders choose to optimize —the measures organizations use to create value, accountability, and competitive advantage. AI can help determine what KPIs are measured, how they are measured, and how best to prioritize them.

Make Gender Equality a Value, Not a Priority

  • Read Time: 3 min 

To make gender equality a reality, organizations need to shift their thinking about what it means to them — that is, to make it part of their company’s values and a permanent driver of culture rather than a mere priority that might change in time. Lessons can be learned from the energy sector, which saw a cultural shift take place around another crucial workplace issue: safety.

The World in 2030: Nine Megatrends to Watch

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  • Read Time: 8 min 

Nine fast-moving megatrends are shaping where our world will be in 11 years. From demographics to urbanization to the big one — climate change — and more, the directions we’re heading and choices we make in the next decade will have enormous impacts on our careers, businesses, and lives.

How to Become a Strategic Leader

  • Read Time: 7 min 

For managers, it can be easy to fall into the trap of assuming that simply engaging in high-level product and business discussion is “being strategic.” But with this approach, leaders may be neglecting the core problems their organizations need to address most. By investing more time in three key activities, new and experienced managers alike can become better strategic leaders.

How a Group of NASA Renegades Transformed Mission Control

  • Read Time: 8 min 

NASA’s Pirates were rebel innovators who created an award-winning mission control system for the shuttle program in record time, on a shoestring budget, and in the face of political resistance. Such renegades are committed to elevating business capabilities and future proofing them for novel challenges, often despite opposition from the status quo. Organizations that want to be ambidextrous need to create a climate that fosters such renegades and nurtures them when they appear.

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Why Hypotheses Beat Goals

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  • Read Time: 6 min 

Companies that aggressively pursue learning must accept the possibility of failure. But simply setting goals and being nonchalant if they fail is inadequate. Instead, companies should focus organizational energy on hypothesis generation and testing. Hypotheses force individuals to articulate in advance why they believe a given course of action will succeed. A failure then exposes an incorrect hypothesis — which can more reliably convert into organizational learning.

“Out-Getting” Is the Next Great Baseball Strategy. Or Not.

In this episode of Counterpoints, the subject is baseball — specifically, the analytics-centered strategy for pitchers called out-getting, which focuses on pitchers’ efficiency rather than on when, how often, and how much they pitch. Will this practice transform baseball in the classic Moneyball tradition — or will it simply be an interesting tactic that teams sometimes use to gain a temporary advantage?

A Structured Approach to Strategic Decisions

Many decisions about strategy require that senior executives make evaluative judgments on the basis of extensive, complex information. Such work is prone to common errors, but a disciplined, sequential approach can mitigate those errors and improve the quality of both one-off and recurrent decisions in an array of business domains. The process described in this article is easy to learn, involves little additional work, and (within limits) leaves room for intuition.

The Myths and Realities of Business Ecosystems

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  • Read Time: 13 min 

The rise of ecosystems requires a new way of thinking about business: the ecosystems perspective. If we can describe this unique perspective, and clear up the myths and confusions surrounding the use of the term, we position ourselves to design strategy effectively in ecosystems.

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Talking About Sustainability Can Drive Sales: Lessons From a Casino Giant

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  • Read Time: 6 min 

Do consumers care enough about companies’ environmental and social practices to give them more business? Caesars Entertainment tested the question at one of its hotels, where one group of customers was told about its green efforts and the other group was told nothing. The casino company got encouraging results: The group who got the message spent 1.5% more. That group also recommended the hotel more enthusiastically.

Act Like a Startup

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  • Read Time: 7 min 

As leaders of established businesses focus on becoming digital, they often embrace the mantra, act like a startup. A startup is an experiment, and its early goal is to learn, as quickly and inexpensively as possible, if an idea has merit. That same ability to figure out how a new value proposition might create revenues and profits is key to digital success. Established companies that want to test ideas for such propositions should be nurturing four traits of startups.

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Beyond a ‘Winner-Takes-All’ Strategy for Platforms

  • Read Time: 6 min 

Platform companies with the largest user networks offer significant value for consumers. Yet total network size isn’t the only key to competitive advantage; platform users may place equal or greater weight on having access to specific, local, or higher-quality platform users or information about the network or its participants.

The Problem With Big Data

  • Read Time: 4 min 

The value of big data is being captured by large companies, but many small businesses are being left behind. One reason: Investors get more data from larger companies, so that’s where they place their bets. Startup and small business owners must think about their data as a new class of economic asset and understand their data helps investors assess them—which affects their ability to raise capital.

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