Online environment changing competition

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Digital Darwinism by Christopher Vollmer in strategy+business plays to my view of strategy as making order-of-magnitude impact, not the percentage incrementalism that constrains much management thinking.

Under the hyped language, the article makes a great case for how the latest developments in the online world offer to transform product development and marketing and make possible truly spectacular outcomes – if you know how, and the article offers useful pointers.

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‘Gestures’, not strategy

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It’s hard enough dealing with current difficulties in a strategically sound way, but it’s not helped by actions that are pointless or counter-productive – examples below.

Some of these actions just might be unavoidable if the business is in real danger of collapse, but very few are in such a bad state. It seems most are doing these things for purely symbolic reasons – ‘We must be seen to be taking the problem seriously’ – or else to hold up short-term profitability ...

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Testing assumptions

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An interview with Dan Ariely in Sloan Mgmt Review points up the need to test assumptions – critical, of course, and can’t fault Dan’s case. But doing as he asks on serious strategic decisions is not so easy.

For many management choices, such as the pricing decision discussed in his interview, there are complex long-run dynamics that common methods simply can’t handle – hence the need for strategy dynamics.

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The crisis – ethics or competence?

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See http://www.strategydynamics.com/strategy-lessons. Background follows … I have been watching a long debate on the Academy of Management’s discussion list re Management Development about the role of ethics and values [or lack of] in bringing about the current crisis. That debate and many similar comments in the media seem to make a big assumption – that unethical behaviour was the main reason for the crisis, so with more ethical standards the crisis would have been avoided or substantially reduced. But apart from ...

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Aims – growth, survival …

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I made a strong case in a previous post that strategy research should have been asking how strong firms grow cash flows, not deliver profit ratios. I had two main push-backs – 1. is growth relevant in present conditions? – 2. survival is really all that matters. 

The first is easily dealt with – stronger cash flow ‘growth’ than rivals can of course imply less decline when everyone is going backwards .. would you rather cash-flows fell by ...

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