Fascinating article that I strongly urge you to read
In an exponential world, it stands to reason that our traditional, linear approaches to strategy will need to be re-thought from the ground up. One way to characterize the big shift in strategy is that we are moving from strategies shaped by terrain to strategies shaped by trajectory. What do I mean by this?
Strategies of terrain
If you think about traditional approaches to strategy, they were profoundly shaped by the current landscape. The job of the strategist was to look across the surrounding terrain from the vantage point of the company and determine what were the most favorable positions to occupy – where could the company build positions of sustainable competitive advantage? …
…Strategies of trajectory
What we need to do at this point is to step back and reassess at a more basic level our approach to strategy. Rather than focusing on terrain, however narrowly or broadly defined, perhaps we should shift our attention to trajectory.
Here’s the paradox. At precisely the time that change is accelerating and uncertainty increasing, we need more than ever to have a clear view of the trajectory of change and how it will reshape the business landscape in the decades ahead….
…..Rather than looking from the present out to the future, we need to look from the future back to the present to determine which actions will have the greatest impact and create the most economic value over time. …
….Position in the future, not the present
….strategies of position still matter, but I didn’t sufficiently emphasize that these new strategies need to focus on the most attractive and advantaged positions in future landscapes, not the current landscape..
…Anticipating the future
But I can already hear the pushback. “John, the future’s just too uncertain. We can’t possibly know what the landscape is going to look like a decade from now…
… the more we shrink our time horizons, the more uncertain the world looks….
…..It helps to know that we don’t need a detailed blueprint of that future landscape – all we need is enough detail to give us a sense of direction and to help us make some difficult choices in the near-term.