Bringing optionality into the way we think and act strategically is important. It is becoming an essential capability for many organisations. Faced with shifting customer expectations, blurring industry boundaries and rapid advancements in technology, few strategies can endure the scale of disruption we are seeing. Many have responded by growing Corporate Venturing units, Open innovation programmes and Accelerators of various types, which bring an element of scale into the equation.
But what if we could scale new options without a commensurate increase in the number of options identified? What if the edges of value creation could be pushed out for options that already exist, that are in our sights? Some, in fact, which are being commercialised?
This, we find, is not only possible, but feasible in many instances. And the impact can be significant. Here are three ways in which this can be done:
Re-define – Defining a strategic option, a new way in which value can be created by your organisation, is a function of available information at the time, and often quite a number of assumptions. As the business context changes and new signals of change come into sight, we can reframe strategic options into something new, and often expand the boundaries of what is possible for your organisation. Would the optionality provided by distributed energy storage solutions materially change as energy densities continue to rise? We find this the case, in anything but a straight line.
Switch roles – As ecosystems continue to evolve around new technology applications, challenging current perspectives of the ecosystem and our role in it can uncover new options that may have been hidden from view. What would the agricultural ecosystem, for example, look like once we can adopt farm automation at scale? Which roles would likely become vital for growth?
Put diversity to work – The impact of diversity at work is now being felt well beyond decision-making in the core of organisations. In a recent study by iSAW International and Arizona State University, gender diversity was traced to a variety of ESG outcomes. In this way, diversity is not merely an outcome but a driver of innovation and ESG performance, and this gives rise to new options and, often, partnering opportunities.
Growing new options is coming of age. It is no longer is the realm of ideation workshops but at the core of organisations navigating disruption. From re-defining options to discovering new roles in the ecosystem, to fostering diversity in the workplace, we are discovering new ways of building new and valuable options.