Strategy algorithms beat judgement

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HBR explains how judgement underperforms simple algorithms for many issues – strategy algorithms exist, at least implicitly.

Recent decades have seen human intuition progressively replaced with proven rules, procedures or algorithms for increasingly complex tasks. Long ago, truck deliveries were scheduled by the logistics manager, and airline prices set by pricing staff – both are now automated. And this phenomenon now goes on to more subtle issues, such as bank credit scores, and marketing tactics driven by behavioural insights from big ...

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Spreadsheets no good for strategy

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This blog post from HBS starts well, but ends in the wrong place, saying we shouldn’t try to quantify intangible issues. We do know how to deal quantitatively with such factors. We can handle both tangible qualities that differ between people, such as differing customer sales rates, and also intangible states-of-mind. A bank tracks ‘miserable moments’ their customers experience and knows well how recent history of those problems affects the likelihood of customers leaving. Call center companies know how ...

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Jump-Starting the Clean-Tech Economy

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HBR asks How to Jump-Start the Clean-Tech Economy and points out that initially-inferior technologies penetrate markets all the time. It also notes that inventing a new product alone may not be enough – a complete system may have to be initiated. There’s more we know though, that Govt and firms could and should be leveraging.

The experience-curve has been well-understood for half a century, and is now so axiomatic that tech-product innovators now simply incorporate its impact every time they ...

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Strategy Execution

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HBR is dusting off some old but useful articles in this collection Maximize Your Strategy.   

Three Keys to Effective Execution at least makes the point that great strategy is no use if it is not implemented well and fast. Unfortunately, the advice is a bit too self-evident and general to be helpful – you should [a] maintain your focus [b] develop tracking systems and [c] set up formal reviews.

Turning Great Strategy into Great Performance reports ...

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Strategy + falsehood = error

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An otherwise great column in HBR It’s Time for the 3-D MBA about improving MBA programs starts well by urging more breadth and depth, then calling for more ‘dynamics’ than static prespectives. [I’d hardly disagree with that!]. But it then asserts that “The vast majority of value created in business comes not from applying existing models, but from creating new models that do not now exist. It comes from creativity; from innovation.” – which is either completely false, ...

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