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Experimentation Is The New Planning

Technology affects almost every industry, often in ways difficult to anticipate. So, argues Dave Gray in this fast company article, “it makes sense to put in place a system that allows you to continually develop options and explore possibilities, so that when the day of disruption does arrive, it finds you ready with a few alternatives in hand.”

An evolving portfolio of strategic experiments gives the management team more choices, which means better odds that some of the choices will be right.

Management theorist Henry Mintzberg makes a distinction between deliberate and emergent strategy. Deliberate strategy relies on senior leaders to set goals and develop plans and strategies to achieve them. Emergent strategy is a strategy that emerges from all over the company, over time, as the environment changes and the organization shifts and adapts to apply its strengths to a changing reality. Emergent strategy is an organic approach to growth that lets companies learn and continually develop new strategies over time based on an ongoing culture of hypothesis and experimentation.

Deliberate strategy is goal-oriented. It asks, “What do we want to achieve?” Emergent strategy is means-oriented. It asks, “What is possible, with the means we have at our disposal?”

Still curious? Read a primer on strategy.