Adding dimensionality to strategy is like adding detail to a map – to our understanding of our world.
The Waldeseemuller map of 1507 is one of the first representations of the whole world.
The age of exploration brought new detail to our understanding of global geography. Over time, we built up greater knowledge of our world – analogous to understanding our markets and the capabilities of our firms.
By 1800, our navigation of the world was complete but understanding of it was partial, inaccurate. This is where a lot of firms are with their understanding of their strategy. These firms need to add dimensionality to their strategy.
Of course, maps depend on map-makers. Cartography is not a fixed science; history moves on. So too with strategy; markets do not stand still; needs, tastes and competitive offerings change. Strategy must adapt to markets as they unfold over time.
Gradually, a more comprehensive and accurate picture emerges; we fill in the detail. But simply understanding the world in two dimensions is not enough.
By adding a dimension – here, height on a relief map – we gain more information. More information can give us a greater understanding; from a greater understanding, we will gain greater insight.
Different ways of looking at the world present different details; there is no one 'right' way to view the world. Again, so too with strategy. How we look at our markets and ourselves often determines what we see.
Greater detail where it is needed offers us a way to zoom in on problems and specific challenges.
In 1946, we took the first pictures of the world from space; the space race, that was to characterise the Cold War, had begun. New dimensions were about to change or thinking on our world.
The NASA Apollo programme changed our perspective of our world by situating us the empty expanse of space. The perspective with which we view our markets and our firms alters our view of what and who we are . . .
. . . and offers us new understanding of our lives and our planet. Viewing strategies and markets through different lenses offers the same breadth of insights . . .
. . . and offers us new ways of understanding our challenges and opportunities.
. . . new ways of understanding how our decisions and actions impact our markets and customers and how our emerging technologies and interconnectedness offer new challenges to manage and opportunities to exploit.
By increasing dimensionality – the breadth of perspective of the firm in an uncertain future – our strategies gain richness, resonance and resilience; by increasing dimensionality we make strategy better, more useful, more robust. By adding dimensionality, we make a better strategy story – we give strategy more impact.