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 many cases we simply cannot compute an optimal choice or “the best” strategy. Indeed, in complex systems, an optimal choice cannot be known. Instead, individuals and — by extension companies and organizations — face a ‘dancing landscape’ of opportunities and risks. In sum, ex ante, there is no single best choice to follow.
“These insight drive a hole through the linear logic of strategic planning. When I understood that, I realized we needed to scrap strategic planning altogether and rethink the discipline of strategy from the ground up. We needed to focus n the generation of simple rules — heuristics — that enable us to scale down complexity and the problem of choice dramatically. We develop these heuristics based on our experience. Strategic Doing reflects our experiences doing strategy in complex, loosely connected networks for over three decades.”
Join us in our next launch of this course, coming later in August.
Ed Morrison is Director of the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. For the past five or six years, he has been developing new, agile approaches to strategy in open, loosely joined networks, a discipline he calls Strategic Doing. Prior to starting his economic development work, Ed worked for Telesis, a corporate strategy consulting firm. In this position, he served on consulting teams for clients such as Ford Motor Company, Volvo, and General Electric. He conducted manufacturing cost studies in the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Sweden, and France. Ed started his professional career in Washington, D.C., where he has served as a legislative assistant to an Ohio Congressman, staff attorney in the Federal Trade Commission, and staff counsel in the US Senate. He holds a BA degree cum laude with honors from Yale University and MBA and JD degrees from the University of Virginia.

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