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Moving Toward Strategy as a Flexible Process

Strategy is dynamic. Different business units — positioned at different locations on the S-Curve — will face different strategic challenges. The implication is profound: a one-size fits all, top-down strategy process (traditional strategic planning) will not be the most productive approach to maximizing a return on assets. In too many cases, corporations are driving toward […]

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Why Trump’s Talks with North Korea Failed

If you are familiar with the dynamics of collaboration, it’s easy to understand why Trump’s talks with Kim Jong-un failed. Successful, enduring collaborations emerge from conversations with an underlying structure and trajectory. We have been studying and experimenting with the dynamics of these complex conversations for over a decade at the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab. […]

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Teaching Strategy Skills With Simulation Games

At our Lab at Purdue, we teach the multiple skills of complex collaboration with simulation games. Every organization is facing complex, wicked challenges. We are unprepared. Traditional management practices do not work well. We do not yet have the skills or the light weight collaborative processes we need to do deep, shared, strategic thinking quickly. […]

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By Embracing Complexity We Find Simplicity

We’ve grown up with a mechanical worldview that is now getting in the way of our ability to adapt and survive. With this mechanical mindset, we think of the world as a machine. We can analyze facts and execute plans toward a predictable future. We can measure and control outcomes. Traditional strategic planning embodies this […]

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The Story of Strategic Doing in Flint, Michigan

Flint, Michigan continues to struggle through a challenging transformation. For the past seven years, we have been working in Flint, supporting a remarkable core team. Recently, we learned that Bob Brown, our colleague from Michigan State, will be receiving a lifetime achievement award from the university.  The Excellence in Diversity Awards recognize and reward the efforts of […]

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Strategic Doing: Handling Dancing Landscapes

Over on our massively open online course (MOOC) introducing Strategic Doing, a student pointed to the work of Herbert Simon an economist and political scientist. I responded: “There is a lot of Herbert Simon’s work underlying this approach to strategy. As you know, Simon challenged the idea of rational economic behavior. He argued that in […]

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Confusing Technical and Adaptive Challenges

Companies get into trouble when their managers confuse technical and adaptive challenges. A technical challenge has a right answer. It involves linear thinking, root cause analysis,  and straightforward trial and error.  Fixing the bad carburetor on a car is a technical challenge. In contrast, adaptive challenges  have no clear solution. There is no protocol to […]

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Diversity Drives Innovation: Here’s How

We’re finding more and more value in the concept of “strategic diversity” – that is, the way in which team members’ cognitive preferences shape their roles on the team. Learning how to optimize that diversity can take your team from average to a true “innovating network” that can solve the toughest challenges. The AEM-Cube(TM) – developed by […]

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To go quickly, go slowly (at first)

I (re)learned a valuable lesson this week. We design and guide new networks to move quickly, to be come more agile. The paradox, however, is that you cannot rush the formation of these trusted networks. Let me set the stage. This week, a team from the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab traveled to NASA Ames Research […]

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Rebuilding our civic economy

Our future prosperity depends on developing new, collective habits of complex thinking together. At the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab, we have introduced the concept of a “civic economy” to explain the importance of civility to our future prosperity. We have found audiences remarkably receptive to this new thinking. Our civic economy supports our market economy. […]

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Developing a University’s Two Ecosystems

Universities can develop two distinct, overlapping ecosystems: one targets at start-ups; the second focuses on innovative companies. To date, most […]

Slowly Understanding the Impact of Globalization

In 1984, I joined a boutique consulting firm, an offshoot of BCG. We had two major clients: GE and Volvo. […]

Moving Toward Strategy as a Flexible Process

Strategy is dynamic. Different business units — positioned at different locations on the S-Curve — will face different strategic challenges. […]

Why Trump’s Talks with North Korea Failed

If you are familiar with the dynamics of collaboration, it’s easy to understand why Trump’s talks with Kim Jong-un failed. […]

What’s Next: Ecosystem Strategies

In the US, economic development over the last few months has focused on two big stories: Foxconn and Amazon. Wisconsin […]

Teaching Strategy Skills With Simulation Games

At our Lab at Purdue, we teach the multiple skills of complex collaboration with simulation games. Every organization is facing […]