Adaptive Strategy as Response to Current Business Environment

If you read the book Lean-Startup, you know it’s all about iteration, testing, data, experiments instead of long-term, predictions, planning. Planning is directive, but that’s it, nothing more. If you’re also in the stage I am in of growing the business, investors for instance will look at how adaptive you are. A business plan can be invalid within days, the team behind it needs to have adaptiveness capabilities, being agile, responsive. An adaptive strategy is one of them.

Great article on the Stanford Social Innovation Review on adaptive strategy. Dana O’Donovan and Noah Rimland Flower show how adaptive strategies differ from classical strategies in the image below:

They elaborate:

Creating strategies that are truly adaptive requires that we give up on many long-held assumptions. As the complexity of our physical and social systems make the world more unpredictable, we have to abandon our focus on predictions and shift into rapid prototyping and experimentation so that we learn quickly about what actually works.

To provide structure to this a fluid and adaptive approach, they focus on answering a series of four interrelated questions about the organization’s strategic direction: what vision it wants to pursue, how it will make a difference, how it will succeed, and what capabilities it will take to get there.

Fast, fluid and flexible

Last year Nilofer Merchant wrote an article on Harvard Business Review on how organizations will have to transform to survive and thrive in the Social Era. She said: Fast, fluid and flexible, meaning strategy has to be as well.

Launch and iterate. Continuously adapt to data patterns and insights.

What does this mean on a macro and micro level?

Image from Jade McDade

To execute adaptive strategies you need to communicate, openly, fast, otherwise an organization can become tangled up in processes and bureaucracy.

What do you find challenging in an adaptive strategic approach?

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