GE T TY IMAGES
In turbulent markets, it can be hard for established companies
to choose new strategic directions. But by rethinking the past
and present and reimagining the future, managers can construct
strategic narratives that enable innovation.
BY SARAH KAPLAN AND WANDA ORLIKOWSKI
ONE OF THE GREAT CHALLENGES for organizations in the current economy is making
strategy under the uncertainties posed by turbulent environments, intensified competition, emerging technologies, shifting customer tastes and regulatory change. Executives often know they must
break with the status quo, but there are few signposts indicating the best way forward.
A core assumption in much of strategic management research is that more accurate forecasts of
future competitive actions or the future value of certain business capabilities will lead to strategic success. 1 Executives have long been exhorted to conduct analyses of internal and external environments
and construct scenarios of the future. However, seeing strategy in this way has some serious
how can managers develop
Focus on creating
that link elements of
the company’s past
to present issues as
well as a reimagined
The more work
devote to creating
linking past, present
and future, the more
they are able to craft
strategies that depart significantly
from the status quo.
STRATEGY IN CHANGING MARKETS: NEW DIRECTIONS
A recent New York Times
digital strategy report drew
on the company’s history to
frame an innovative future.