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The emergence of Strategic Doing: Strategy for open, loosely joined networks

Conventional approaches to strategic planning do not work well to meet the complex challenges we face today. The reason is simple. Strategic planning does not work in open networks. Traditional strategy practices emerged from large hierarchical, “command and control” corporations. A small group of people at the top of the organization did the thinking, while […]

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Distinguishing innovation ecosystems from entrepreneurial ecosystems

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been exploring the challenge of improving the productivity of the ecosystem surrounding a research university like Purdue. There some interesting reading on the topic, but it appears to me that we are not carefully distinguishing between ecosystems designed to accelerate the formation of new companies and ecosystems designed to […]

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Developing the Next Alaska: Plugging Leaks and the Long Tail Economy

Alice Rogoff, Publisher of the Alaska Dispatch, asked me to put down some thoughts on economic development strategies for Alaska. Here are some thoughts.  Civic leadership is a generational game. Civic leaders, when they do their job right, are planting seeds to trees that they will never see. The question facing Alaska’s current generation of […]

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What makes good strategies?

To be effective should a strategy process be “open” with a lot of participation, or more closed to keep it focused? How can a strategy balance long term vision with short term wins? Are metrics important for control, or should we think of metrics more as a tool for learning? All important questions. Scott Hutcheson, […]

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What if we can’t “fix” poverty?

Across the country, we are dealing with the consequences of the growing disparity in income between the rich and poor. How can we use new thinking about networks to address these challenges? A promising pilot project has been underway for some years in Shreveport, Louisiana. Community Renewal International takes a decidedly different approach to the […]

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Strategic Doing Down Under

A week ago, my Purdue colleague Scott Hutcheson and I traveled to Fraser Coast north of Brisbane to introduce Strategic Doing to that region. The Fraser Coast is engaged in an initiative patterned after the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) initiative launched by the US Department of Labor in 2006. Paul Collits, Associate […]

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Inside a regional innovation cluster

Clusters that accelerate regional innovation are not simply agglomerations of like-situated firms. Instead, regional innovation clusters form around an ethic of open innovation. With open innovation, the presumptions on information sharing are reversed. In the old world of our grandfather’s economy, regional actors presumed that information was confidential unless they took steps to release it […]

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Mapping and linking assets to find opportunities

Strategic Doing provides a discipline for thinking and acting strategically in open, loosely joined networks. Four questions frame the strategy process. On the surface, these questions are simple, but answering them is not easy. On the first question of the Strategic Doing cycle — What could we do? — participants explore their assets and the […]

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In a democracy, civility is not optional

In a democracy, civility is not optional. The reason is simple. Democracy describes the process of self-government. It calls for all members of the group to be equally represented in the making of collaborative decisions. Civility is critical to the democratic process, because it protects the conditions under which  we can make decisions for ourselves. […]

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Education, skills and employment

Over the past months, as the economy has begun to recover, a fog has slowly gathered over the issues of education, skills and employment. Some have begun to question the value of education and the connection of education to employment. They ask, for example, Why are our college graduates underemployed? Others point to the growing […]

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Designing platforms to design ecosystems

Ecosystems form on top of platforms. Ecosystem design starts with platform design.  By designing the platform and guiding interactions on […]

Start-up and innovation ecosystems: Testbeds

It’s no surprise that academic research often lags behind market developments (Brown & Mawson, 2017). What if, to help us […]

The shiny attraction of tax cuts

Years ago, as I was working on consulting teams, we helped companies like GE globalize their production. That meant moving […]

Our out-dated thinking about communities

Our traditional approach to community development no longer works. Consider these facts: The opioid crisis is overwhelming our capacity to […]

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 […]

Rebuilding our civic economy

Our future prosperity depends on developing new, collective habits of complex thinking together. At the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab, we […]