Editor’s letter

Robert M. Randall (Strategy & Leadership)

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 16 March 2015



Randall, R.M. (2015), "Editor’s letter", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 43 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/SL-01-2015-0013



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Editor’s letter

Article Type: Editor’s letter From: Strategy & Leadership, Volume 43, Issue 2

The title of this special issue is “Confronting unexplored environments.” The six articles offer guides for strategic leaders as they experiment with new management systems and practices that will allow them to identify opportunities amid uncertainty and to adapt to emerging markets.

For example, as more leaders open up their enterprises – bringing down the barriers to extending collaboration both inside and outside their organizations – IBM researchers Steven Davidson, Martin Harmer and Anthony Marshall predict that the most innovative organizations will cooperate in business ecosystems. Business ecosystems are complex webs of interdependent enterprises and relationships that serve customers best by working together. In their article “Strategies for creating and capturing value in the emerging ecosystem economy” they explain why there will be four distinct types of ecosystems and how participants can succeed in each.

For more than a decade, two INSEAD researchers have become famous for their comprehensive approach to the formulation and execution of strategies aimed at the creation of new market spaces – the “blue oceans” of uncontested commerce. But as the concepts of “blue ocean” and “red ocean” strategies were being tossed around in management meetings in companies across the globe, managers often muddled those ideas together with disruption theory, niche marketing, customer-focused innovation and other pioneering practices. In an interview, “W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne dispel blue ocean myths,” the researchers clear up some common misconceptions.

A.T. Kearney consultants Kai Engel, Violetka Dirlea, Stephen Dyer and Jochen Graff advise senior management on how to broadly survey their company’s high-potential innovation opportunities. In their article “Best innovators develop a point of view on the future and a roadmap on how to get there,” they explain the critical six early-stage practices: know what you want to achieve; own a point of view about the future; define the innovation search fields; manage to the customer’s desired outcome; know your own competencies and invest accordingly and draw the innovation roadmap.

The most innovative companies view uncertainty as a source of opportunity and profit. It requires well-honed strategic leadership to design and deploy the kind of organizational capabilities that enable such firms to anticipate discontinuity sooner and adapt faster. In their article, “Overcoming barriers to integrating strategy and leadership,” Paul J.H. Schoemaker and Steven Krupp, a senior consultant at Decision Strategies International, identify the six abilities managers need to practice and show how the best innovators win the long game by making frequent tactical adjustments along the way in response to surprise and uncertainty.

The real performance of many large publicly-owned corporations that continue to implement the obsolete management practices of hierarchical bureaucracy and pursue the goal of maximizing shareholder value with the implicit or explicit intent of influencing the share price is in steady decline. Such enshrined principles and processes of leadership and management, which served the world well during the 20th Century, are a hindrance to companies that now need to practice continuous innovation. Leadership expert Stephen Denning asks and answers, “Does management innovation need a new change model?”

In the 1960s, to grasp the potential of technology to revolutionize discount retailing, Sam Walton sought out early tech enthusiasts, recruited and hired them, constantly learned from them, promoted them to top leadership positions and ultimately built the Walmart empire with them. Osvald M. Bjelland, a senior consultant at Xyntéo Ltd., and Prof. Robert Chapman Wood advise modern leaders who don’t have a background in technology, “To nurture transformational technology, build a community like Sam Walton’s.”

Good reading!

Robert M. Randall


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