Porfessor Adam Brandenburger noticed business school students getting frustrated when learning strategy. With good reason.
As these students knew, rigorous analytical tools only helped them in understanding an existing business context, and not necessarily how the world will look like tomorrow.
The classical tools are essential to learn, but they also equip future employees and business leaders to only partially succeed – or failing completely. As Mr. Brandenburger writes:
At its core, strategy is still about finding ways to create and claim value through differentiation. That’s a complicated, difficult job. To be sure, it requires tools that can help identify surprising, creative breaks from conventional thinking.
In his article, four approaches to building a breakthrough strategy is explored. These are summarized in focusing on Contrast, Combination, Constraint and Context. They all explore lesser known paths within strategy thinking and turn former well established analysis tools upside down.
You can read more about them here.
To strengthen strategic work, it requires a set of tools that help identify surprising, creative elements from conventional thinking. This is more aligned with an ever-changing business landscape.
It is time to teach both students and executives “how to be creative and rigorous at the same time”.