20/20 Foresight: The Origins Of Pattern Based Strategy?

Posted on December 15, 2009


Pattern Based Strategy is the new Gartner’s framework to exploit patterns in the marketplace for competitive advantage. Hugh Courtney in 2001 introduced  “Strategic Evolution Principles” which in essence could represent the foundations of Pattern Based Strategy.

The intention of this post is not to dispute the ownership of a concept but rather to point out how the management discipline evolves and adapts according to the context.

In his book, “20/20 foresight – Crafting Strategy in an Uncertain World”, Hugh Courtney highlighted:

Strategic evolution principles … enable companies to evolve successfully … through ambiguous business environments. Sucessful evolution requires companies to be: (a) quick and precise in identifying new threats and opportunities as they emerge, and (b) ready with a set of business principles and organizational norms that will help them make fast decisions and even aggressive commitments despite the high level of residual uncertainty.

Moreover H. Courtney stated that:

Companies can meet these requirements if they follow best practices in four key areas: scanning, experimenting, monitoring and committing.

We can notice, whilst comparing with the Gartner’s model of proactively seeking, modeling and adapting, that  a strong correlation in the approach to deal with decision making in uncertain environments exists.

There are some obvious similarities in the two frameworks in (1) the for search of significant signals, (2) the timely commitment of the organization, and eventually (3) the capacity of a company to embrace such models:

  • Gartner promotes the critical organizational disciplines to succeed: Pattern seeking, Optempo Advantage (Gartner definition: “Optempo Advantage” represents the set of coherent guidelines and actions necessary for maximizing the allocation and utilization of enterprise resources (people, processes and information) , Performance Driven Culture, and Transparency;
  • H. Courtney enforces the three vital areas of strategic management: market-and-time based decision making, focused competitive and market intelligence and efficient internal capital allocation.

The transparency attribute is something new and is certainly a conscequence of the serie of events that occured in the financial markets since 2001. What is new as well is the increased maturity of information technologies that are now more prone to probe market signals, to share critical insights at the speed of light, and to develop more than ever the concept of collaborative intelligence. In a way, we might say that gartner used the “Optempo Advantage”.

I always found interesting to see how the business management discipline is evolving by cycles, and its ability to recycle older concepts and ideas; however at each step in the process we are getting smarter.

The important matter is to understand where we come from and how we are adapting to changing conditions in our pursuit of knowledge excellence.

You are welcome to use  the comment section to share other models evolution that you have witnessed in the marketplace.

Reference: 20/20 Foresight – Crafting Strategy in an Uncertain World – Hugh Courtney, 2001