The End of the Endgame?

Over the past 40 years, strategic thought has evolved through three distinct phases-bodies of thought that have built progressively on each other. The Internet takes us it into a fourth: a phase that is defined by the explicit rejection of central premises of each of its predecessors. But to understand where strategic planning is going, it is first necessary to review where it has been.
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Philip Evans

The Internet undermines the premises of competitive analysis. Porter’s “five forces” framework presumed that the definitions of the firm, industry, suppliers, customers, and new entrants were given and obvious. But the Internet destroys these neat categories. The definition of the business, competitors, suppliers, etc. is now the essence of the question, not a premise of the answer. Compound this with the well-known prevalence of increasing … [ Read more ]

Philip Evans

The New Economy liberated competencies from the core. The technologies of Silicon Valley (to take one of the purest examples) belong largely to the community, not to any individual firm. Personal networks, fluid labor markets, and sophisticated venture capital communities transplant much of that knowhow from one firm to another, despite the efforts of every constituent firm to prevent it. But in the New Economy … [ Read more ]

Philip Evans

Perhaps a lot of traditional insights can still be exploited if we are willing simply to abandon the idea of a solution, an endgame. Not because it does not exist or does not matter, but simply because it is unknowable, at least for now. Perhaps we need to redefine strategy as the art of surviving rapid transition, something like log-rolling or surfing. Strategy as direction … [ Read more ]

Helping Knowledge Management Be All It Can Be

Businesses have had a rough time marshalling what they know into systems that help cut costs and boost profits. A survey by Bain & Company shows that top managers do not think that knowledge management (KM) is an effective tool. But new lessons from the U.S. Army are showing the business world that KM can be highly effective. This story defines KM crisply, explains why … [ Read more ]