Strategic plays now more important than strategy execution

Author: Simon Wardley, James Kirk (

Categories: Age of Wonder - Time of War, blowing industries apart, digital strategy, mapping and wonder
  So when we talk about economic change there’s actually a standard process for how organisations evolve. So when we look at the commoditization of a pre-existing act, say electricity or compute you often get new practices emerge and then those new organisations form around those new practices and they dominant.  So the electricity age we got forwardism, the mechanical age we got the American system, internet age we got Web 2.0. Cloud we’re getting basically a new generation of companies. Now we often have these sorts of debates about whether strategy matters. I mean Jamie Dimon once said that you know execution is the key to a strategy success.  Well it turns out that this next generation of organisations appearing with Cloud have slightly different ways of playing at the strategic game. They have very high levels of what you would call situational awareness.  And I did a piece of work a couple of years back. Back in 2011 which mapped the phenotype, the characteristics of these next generation companies.  And then in 2012 we looked at the level of strategic play against that action in this case it was the use of open to manipulate markets.  And what we found was strategic play was critical, more important than execution.  So players are a particular group of companies who tend to have extremely high levels of strategic play and they tend to act on it. So they do things like use open as a way of manipulating markets and those companies have had massive market growth over the last 7 years.  Now there is another group of companies called chancers which tend to have low levels of strategic play and don’t tend to act very effectively.  For example don’t use open as a way of manipulating markets and they have tended to show very negative market cap or stagnation over the last 7 years.  So players are a particular type of new form of organisation which have very high levels of strategic play and that turns out to be critical for completion.
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