What Is Strategy, Again?

In “What Is Strategy,” [Michael] Porter argues against a bevy of alternate views … At a fundamental level, all strategies for Porter boil down to two very broad options: Do what everyone else is doing (but spend less money doing it), or do something no one else can do.

A tour de force by any measure, “What Is Strategy?” is certainly required reading for all strategists. But it was far from the final word. One could perhaps usefully divide the vast universe of subsequent strategy ideas into those that focus on:

– Doing something new.
– Building on what you already do.
– Reacting opportunistically to emerging possibilities.

Take a look at the richness of the ideas in all three camps, and it’s hard to agree that strategy boils down to a discouraging choice between “do something so dauntingly original that no one can copy you” and “fight to the death with your rivals over the pie.”

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