During this start of the year, I thought to share my ideas on strategic management and its future. I have shared my views over the past, present, and future of strategic management in dozens of presentations, hundreds of discussions, numerous investment negotiations, and so on. For some reason, I never before just put my top line thinking in simple writing. So here it goes.

 

The Past

First off, there’s the past. The days of yore. The olden times. The ‘once upon a time in strategic management’. This was the time when a corporate or business strategy got updated by the management team in a closed yearly bootcamp. At a remote off-site location, of course. Coming out of such a bootcamp, the “new” strategy would take the form of a slide deck and a numerical targets spreadsheet to follow. Not surprisingly, true market intelligence – if any – was delivered by a group of consultants or acquired via advisory services just in time for the yearly strategy bootcamp.
The Present

Then there’s the present.The real world. The today. As in many other fields, the discipline of strategic management seems polarized, or multipolar even. Some still stick to the old ways, yearly clocks and bootcamps and all. Some completely dismiss strategy, for example by quoting Peter Drucker for saying “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Well, it does, but it’s not _supposed_ to! Even Mr Drucker insisted on forward-looking strategic thinking, _and_ he called for a supporting culture. Well, today there also are many who really work on insightful strategies – and cultures – with the aim for even greater competitive advantage, for even higher growth of market capitalization, and for a long-term prosperity.

The Future

And then there’s the future. The time when today seems old-fashioned and slow. The tomorrow. I am already seeing a major shift towards continuous discussion, debate, collaboration, and transparency over strategies and decision-making overall. Also, as the pace of change in any business environment is just getting higher, organizations are adopting foresight methodologies instead of traditional market research. Such adoption calls for crowdsourced weak signal scanning and trend scouting continuously giving inputs to innovation projects and processes. Continuous feedback loops from weak signals to decision-making and back. Ultimately reaching a state of real-time, agile strategic management.

 

And yes, I am seeing the new rise of systematically seeking for new opportunity spaces, of insightful strategic positioning, and of strategic competence building. Going from today to tomorrow will bring massive changes also for strategic management. Leadership and corporate cultures will become even more valid as new generations rise to power. Digital tools, big data, and artifical intelligence in all their forms will heavily impact the world of strategy. Consulting will be disrupted. There are even early discussions regarding an integrated, perfect strategy machine that would allow for the best possible decisions in real time.

 

Still time before that perfect strategy machine, though. But another thing is for sure as well: the days of yore will not be back. The ones that choose to stick in that world will get eaten by their forward-looking rivals.

These beliefs and insights are something we believe deeply at FIBRES Online. The use of future-related information, combined to strategy in a right ways is a powerful combination.

Stay tuned!

On a closing note, I’m also inviting you to participate in our survey (5 min. filling time) on ‘foresight as part of strategic management’. Results will be announced early March. Click the link below (open until 22nd of February, noon (EET)).

Panu Kause

Entrepreneur, strategist, and a walking chaos. Worked in, with, or for tens of organizations at their top management level. Passionate about strategic planning and management, as well as about always finding new opportunities in everything. Quite literally hates indifference and apathy.