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Which clippings match 'Adaptive Approach' keyword pg.1 of 1
07 FEBRUARY 2013

The Strategic Plan is Dead. Long Live Strategy

"The approach we developed in working with our clients at Monitor Institute is what we call adaptive strategy. We create a roadmap of the terrain that lies before an organization and develop a set of navigational tools, realizing that there will be many different options for reaching the destination. If necessary, the destination itself may shift based on what we learn along the way.

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. With data now ubiquitous, we have to give up our claim to expertise in data collection and move into pattern recognition so that we know what data is worth our attention. We also know that simple directives from the top are frequently neither necessary nor helpful. We instead find ways to delegate authority, get information directly from the front lines, and make decisions based on a real–time understanding of what's happening on the ground. Instead of the old approach of 'making a plan and sticking to it,' which led to centralized strategic planning around fixed time horizons, we believe in 'setting a direction and testing to it,' treating the whole organization as a team that is experimenting its way to success.

This approach wouldn't surprise anyone in the world of current military strategy. Recent generations of military thinkers have long since moved beyond the traditional approach, most notably famed fighter pilot John Boyd. He saw strategy as a continuous mental loop that ran from observe to orient to decide and finally to act, returning immediately to further observation. By adopting his mindset (with a particular emphasis on the two O's, given our turbulent context), we can get much better at making strategy a self–correcting series of intentional experiments.

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

The skills and mindset for today's strategic planning will come from continuously asking ourselves these questions about our organizations, programs, and initiatives. Once we accept Dwight D. Eisenhower's sage advice that 'Plans are useless, but planning is everything,' we will be ready to adapt to whatever curveballs the twenty–first century sees fit to throw."

(Dana O'Donovan & Noah Rimland Flower, 10 Jan 2013, Stanford Social Innovation Review)



adapting to changeadaptive approach • adaptive strategy • becomingcentralisation • continuous mental loop • data is ubiquitous • decision makingDwight Eisenhower • evolving trajectory • experimentation • experimenting to success • fixed time horizons • fluid approach • John Boyd • military strategy • military thinkers • Monitor Institute • navigational tools • pattern recognitionplanning • plans are useless • predictionsrapid prototyping • real-time understanding • roadmap • shifting destinations • strategic directionstrategic planningtactical engagementturbulent contextuncertain environmentsunpredictability


Simon Perkins
07 MARCH 2011

Responsive Web Design

"Recently, an emergent discipline called 'responsive architecture' has begun asking how physical spaces can respond to the presence of people passing through them. Through a combination of embedded robotics and tensile materials, architects are experimenting with art installations and wall structures that bend, flex, and expand as crowds approach them. Motion sensors can be paired with climate control systems to adjust a room's temperature and ambient lighting as it fills with people. Companies have already produced 'smart glass technology' that can automatically become opaque when a room's occupants reach a certain density threshold, giving them an additional layer of privacy.

In their book Interactive Architecture, Michael Fox and Miles Kemp described this more adaptive approach as 'a multiple–loop system in which one enters into a conversation; a continual and constructive information exchange.' Emphasis mine, as I think that's a subtle yet powerful distinction: rather than creating immutable, unchanging spaces that define a particular experience, they suggest inhabitant and structure can–and should–mutually influence each other.

This is our way forward. Rather than tailoring disconnected designs to each of an ever–increasing number of web devices, we can treat them as facets of the same experience. We can design for an optimal viewing experience, but embed standards–based technologies into our designs to make them not only more flexible, but more adaptive to the media that renders them. In short, we need to practice responsive web design. But how?"

(Ethan Marcotte, 25 May 2010)



A List Apart • adaptive • adaptive approachadaptive layoutarchitecture • art installations • climate control systems • constructive information exchange • contextconvergencecrowdCSS3designdesign for the screendevice • embedded robotics • Ethan Marcotte • flexibilityform and contentHTML5information in contextJackson Pollockmedia queries • Michael Fox • Miles Kemp • mobile • motion sensors • responsive • responsive architecture • responsive designresponsive web designSimon Collison • smart glass • solutionspacetechnology • tensile materials • usabilityvisualisation • wall structures • web designweb standards


Simon Perkins

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