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A window of opportunity…

Which company is the leader in your market? How did that company become the leader? Not how they maintain leadership, but how did they shoot up and become the leader? The answer is most often that some sort of window of opportunity opened in your market, and the company that was the first to successfully jump through that window became the leader. Not necessarily the first mover, but the first to get it right. That very predatory approach of leaping through the window of opportunity and staying focused on those big wins—not on maintenance activities—is what distinguishes real entrepreneurial strategy.

The confluence in todays market of hardware development and the software knowledge and artistry from the gaming industry is opening windows in many markets with the emergence of augmented and virtual reality solutions. The ability to see, experience and use objects and environments, both organic and built, that are not physically present will change the way we live, learn, interact, process and entertain. Is your company positioned and ready to jump through the window and take a leadership position.

Let’s be honest, most corporate strategic plans have little to do with strategy. They are simply three-year or five-year rolling resource budgets with some sort of market share projection. Calling this strategic planning creates false expectations. It is a plan, and the exercise that created it should not be expected to produce a strategy that will give you a competitive edge. That is not to say that plans are not essential management tools. If you are a rapidly growing company, as an example, you will need a plan to guide your expansion and the costs that entails.  In this case, your  plan coordinates the deployment of resources—but it’s not strategy. These resource budgets simply cannot deliver a pathway to substantially higher performance.

There are only two ways to get that. One, you can invent your way to success. Hope that your research and development team can make a radical break through. Unfortunately, you can’t count on that. The second path is to exploit some change in your environment—in technology, consumer tastes, laws, resource prices, or competitive behavior—and ride that change with quickness and skill. This second path is how most successful companies make it. They see the window, create a strategy and leap through.

There is no certainty of what’s on the other side, but you see an opportunity in your market and take a chance based on a strategic assessment. It could be a new way to reach customers, change your product or service, drastically improve service, maintenance or training, or open up new segments. To take speculative judgments are the essence of strategic thinking, and they can be the starting points for taking a better, stronger or just different position. Strategic thinking helps us take positions in a world that is confusing and uncertain. You can’t get rid of ambiguity and uncertainty—they are the flip side of opportunity. If you want certainty and clarity, wait for others to take a position and see how they do. Then you’ll know what works, but it will be too late to profit from the knowledge.

Can you predict clearly which positions will pay off? Not easily. If we could actually calculate the financial implications of such choices, we wouldn’t have to think strategically; we would just run spreadsheets. Strategic thinking is essentially a substitute for having clear connections between the positions we take and their economic outcomes.

Haptiq is not the company to help you run spreadsheets, but with our background and experience we can help you see possibilities, define opportunities and develop solutions that can help you to become a leader in this new technological reality.