Roger Martin

Strategy is not the inevitable outcome of a process of analysis: it is a choice of where a firm wants to play and how it will win there going forward. Yes, a working knowledge of the industry and its likely evolution, the customers and their likely preferences, the firm itself and its potential capabilities and cost structure, and its competitors and their likely responses and actions should inform that choice. But it is simply not possible to predict that many things about the future through analysis unless you simplify the features of the solution space to an extent that makes it analyzable — and at the same time irrelevant. It guarantees strategic failure.

To develop a compelling strategy, you have to begin by staking out the territory you want. That is an act of choice and imagination. After you’ve made the choice, then it is the time for analysis: figuring out exactly what you have to do to get to where you want to be and to be able to play the way you need to in order to win.

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