Mastering Disruption from Outside the C-Suite
- Strategy and Business Best Business Books 2021, Strategy
- Shortlisted for the Thinkers50 2021 Strategy Award Shortlist
- Bronze Medalist in Business Disruption/Reinvention, 2022 Axiom Business Book Awards
296 pp., 6 x 9 in, 20 figures
- Published: April 4, 2023
- Published: October 12, 2021
- Published: October 12, 2021
How smart companies are opening up strategic initiatives to involve front-line employees, experts, suppliers, customers, entrepreneurs, and even competitors.
Why are some of the world's most successful companies able to stay ahead of disruption, adopting and implementing innovative strategies, while others struggle? It's not because they hire a new CEO or expensive consultants but rather because these pioneering companies have adopted a new way of strategizing. Instead of keeping strategic deliberations within the C-Suite, they open up strategic initiatives to a diverse group of stakeholders—front-line employees, experts, suppliers, customers, entrepreneurs, and even competitors. Open Strategy presents a new philosophy, key tools, step-by-step advice, and fascinating case studies—from companies that range from Barclays to Adidas—to guide business leaders in this groundbreaking approach to strategy.
The authors—business-strategy experts from both academia and management consulting—introduce tools for each of the three stages of strategy-making: idea generation, plan formulation, and implementation. These are digital tools (including strategy contests), which allow the widest participation; hybrid digital/in-person tools (including a “nightmare competitor challenge”); a workshop tool that gamifies the business model development process; and tools that help companies implement and sustain open strategy efforts.
Open strategy has an astonishing track record: a survey of 200 business leaders shows that although open-strategy techniques were deployed for only 30 percent of their initiatives, those same initiatives generated 50 percent of their revenues and profits. This book offers a roadmap for this kind of success.
“I have been a champion of open for many years. Open Strategy provides a nice blueprint to unleash the power and impact of openness in your organization—recommended reading for all leaders.”
Jim Whitehurst, President, IBM
“My benchmark for an important, long-lasting book is the number of notes I take while reading. Open Strategy far exceeds my benchmark—I found something important on every page! It turns the existing strategic management paradigm on its head by showing executives the power of openness. An excellent how-to manual.”
Karim R. Lakhani,, Dorothy and Michael Hintze Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; coauthor of Competing in the Age of AI
“This book shows how a strategy can be shaped around openness and the importance of the deep self-awareness an organization has to build to take this journey in these turbulent times. Very insightful.”
Francesco Starace, CEO, Enel
“Open strategy is more than an inspiring idea. With this book, leaders now have the practical tools to make it a value-creating reality.”
Richard Whittington,, Professor of Strategic Management, University of Oxford
“If you are running an organization, this is the book you need. Old-style top-down thinking can't capture the complexity of the present or the uncertainties of the future. This is the first strategy book I've read that seems to know what kind of world we are living in today.”
Margaret Heffernan, CEO; author of Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future
“The old rules of business said that strategy was the sole preserve of the boardroom. But strategy is being brought into the light. Open strategy is as game-changing as open innovation.”
Des Dearlove and Stuart Crainer, Thinkers50
“We applied open strategy. Involving a wide range of internal people as well as external experts was one of my best decisions.”
Andreas Ronken, CEO, Ritter Sport
“Open Strategy promotes collaboration with people and organizations, a key to success in a highly complex market environment.”
Peter Gerstmann, CEO, Zeppelin
“Digitalization forces companies to reinvent themselves at pace. How do you fully engage your workforce around a radical new strategy? Open Strategy offers a compelling answer: involve them.”
Ian Watson, CEO, Hotter Shoes
“Open Strategy is an invitation for executives to experiment, tackle cognitive biases, and ultimately win against competitors. It is very timely, as our world is going through significant shifts in the post-pandemic era and leaders are looking for new ways of conducting business and identifying the strategies for becoming more resilient to future shocks. Unlike many strategy-focused books that leave busy executives with more questions than answers, this book provides a set of practical tools and instructions on how to implement.”
Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
“A revolutionary new way of doing strategy. Read and explore.”
Richard D'Aveni, Bakala Professor of Strategy, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth; author of The Pan-Industrial Revolution and Hypercompetition
"A useful blueprint."
“[A] substantive and eloquent book...Open strategy is more than a set of tactics or tweaks to an existing strategy. The authors set out the approach with such granularity and clarity that it is immediately actionable.”
Strategy and Business
"Strategy is usually a closed, top-down affair, as a small group defines a new approach and, too often, it flops. The four professors share a different approach, opening key aspects of strategy-making up to front-line workers, others in the ranks, and even outsiders, tapping into differing perspectives and building enthusiasm for implementation."
The Globe and Mail
"...fascinating examples and evidence with step-by-step frameworks and tools for crowdsourcing, strategy jams, contests and competitions – all designed to garner wide perspectives and diverse thought in service of innovation."