Welcome to our blog.
Welcome to our blog.
In this corner of Strategic Thinking, I continue to simplify what appears to be the complex issue. For SIMPLE THINGS are attractive and – as the practice shows – practically more useful.
In a cloud of literature about STRATEGY, we normally stumble into a forest of concepts:
Let us look from a hypothetical angle.
If each of these strategic concepts is really very important for business,
If each of them should be matched by a specific competence, then in a strategically minded company, a whole team of strategy specialists should be employed.
And then, likely, they would spend a lot of time on “strategic” disputes and effectively curtailing … a strategic development of the company.
Complicated and impractical. Both intuition and practice suggest that real life is much simpler.
QUESTION. What is strategy in general and how to employ it effectively?
ANSWER lies in the simplicity of the Process of Value Creation itself.
Let’s elaborate on the answer.
The goal of every process is to create some value for someone. That’s why STRATEGY is a purposeful and long-term Value Creation Process implemented by an individual or an organization. It is a path leading from a standpoint A to a desired vision of wellbeing B.
The value creation PROCESS consists of 2 basic [reality-determining] elements.
No. 1 – Thinking
No. 2 – Doing
Thinking  articulates the desired Goal and projects a Path to the Goal.
The path is practically implemented by the Value Creation Process [2 – VCP].
Next: an experience gained enables the VCP to be improved via Thinking :
Very simple. It seems … too simple …
But, in practical terms, this simplicity IS the key to an efficiency of any strategy.
Hence. a CHALLENGE: how to develop a mindset in the company that would improve the Value Creation Process as efficiently as possible.
Indeed, widely used process improvement methods, such as, 6 sigma, LEAN, Agile, etc. are very useful. However, even these well-proven practices are not always easily implemented because of a lack of an intelligent effort on the part of a body of employees of a company.
It turns out that thinking is difficult, even very difficult …
So, the REAL challenge creating a simple and efficient strategy is this:
How to develop thinking as the basis of the Value Creation Process in an organization?
A frequently asked question is this: does strategic thinking help to create a long-term competitive, hence, strategic advantage’?
Here is an answer.
Strategic advantage is undoubtedly THE pursuit of many. It is like conquering a high mountain befitting solely to the bravest and most professional climbers. Unfortunately, no one, not even the bravest, could claim an undisputed ownership of the mountain’s peak. For, not so distantly, yet another group is moving up, and is about to ask the winners – so triumphantly resting on the top! – to make room for the new commers.
Similarly, any company that excels in technological innovation, market share, etc., and, therefore, enjoys its competitive advantage today will be surely overtaken by someone tomorrow. A corollary: it is always difficult to sustain strategic advantage. In principle, any advantage has to be sustained ferociously in order to become strategic.
There is always yet another team coming up for your prize to be taken away.
Still, there is one thing that upholds the strategic advantage in the essential way. It is called THINKING.
Let us be honest. Very few of those struggling to be victorious in the fast-changing business of modern day give much time to hard thinking. The too-familiar constant banging on yourself – “Be the best”, or “I’m the best” – is not thinking at all. Thinking is something to do with taking enough time to reflect in silence, conversing with oneself, then, dialoguing with colleagues. Eventually, it is daring to engage in an open critique of on-going business practices, likely, customary to and cherished by the majority. Equally, thinking means being curious. One should constantly scrutinize new trends not only in his own niche, but also looking out to broader contexts, such as, emerging innovations, geopolitical currents, megatrends.
There is no new thing to acquire. Thinking is the inherent human power. Just take it and use it properly. However, not many dares to engage. Why? Because it is painful to detach oneself from customary realities, whom we dearly call – my normal life. Yes, thinking is dangerous to the ‘normal’ folk, for it destroys habitual comfort zone with explosive questions such as ‘why do I do what I do’, ‘what the purpose of my life is’, ‘what is the good that I do in my business’, etc.
Thinking destroys egos. Yet it makes Good come to existence while prizing the bravest with the enjoyment of the discovery of the spring of inner energy and, consequently, awarding one’s company with daring and well-justified strategy.
Think hard CONSTANTLY. This implies a consistent intellectual focus of the leader and creativity members TOGETHER. Creativity as modelled by hard thinking is the paramount basis for the value creation process which is potent enough to capture human spirit with indispensable good it provides with. This is the essence of strategic thinking.
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO STRATEGIC THINKING
It is a commonplace to say that industries are facing the challenge of rapid technological change. The problem is not just the skyrocketing scale of innovation, or a generation shift, or any human barrier. Tectonic shifts are taking place in the fields of the value-added approach and even (sic!) in the nature of capital itself. It is already clear that products of high value will be developed through a symbiosis of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human Intelligence (HI). It becomes increasingly evident that if a company does not develop its AI / HI symbiotic modality, it will soon become redundant. It seems we are just at the beginning of the Industry 4.0 revolution, but the pace and scale of progress is already making industries to embrace forward-looking strategies.
This is an already widely perceived that repetitive functions will be fully automized and controlled by AI. Whereas non-repetitive, or unique functions will be managed by humans. What is not well understood is that “humans” would mean a highly specialized creative force, a powerful concentration of intellects that functions as a synergy of talents. The prime task for the force is also excelling – the discovery of new venues of value to become products of excellence on the market. To be more specific, these group of talents will produce reasonable hypotheses for the AI to convert them into marketable products and production with as low prime cost as possible. In simple words, creative people are to create valuable problems for machines to convert them into well marketable products. The symbiosis between Artificial Intelligence and synergetic Human Intelligence is the future.
Simple, but extremely challenging. The Human intelligence will have to catch up with the pace of Machine learning. Here how it goes. The first premise: business that will have not yet mastered AI inc. Machin learning) will fail; the second premise: business will have to be able to profitably employ the powers of constantly evolving AI at an ever-increasing pace; conclusion: business will have to learn constantly and quickly.
Hence, a practical outcome: to match up the AI in your business, the lifelong learning will inevitably become a part of the value creation process. industries will have to organize a learning process by absorbing & adapting academic or any useful professional resources. An inevitable process of dialectics where, on the one hand, a professional has to deny rapidly aging knowledge and, on the other, acquire new interdisciplinary know-how will be a norm of working for business and in business. So, the state of constant re-learning will become a prerequisite in the making of continuous competitive advantage. Certainly, it will be rather challenging to survive in such a strive. Thus, only the talented and ardent learners are to become apt performers in the high value creation processes of the future. Lifestyle choices will soon be either this kind of challenging creative work and interesting life, or a consumer with a basic life-long “happy life” grant and … boredom.
The historic Socrates commandment “I know that I know nothing” will finally come true in the highly advanced economies. Meanwhile, the developed capacity of industries to absorb and produce its own talent capital via creating modalities of AI-HI symbiosis will become a key factor in making own strategic advantage.