Lean Strategy

harvard business review on laptop

Strategy and entrepreneurship are often viewed as polar opposites. Strategy is seen as the pursuit of a clearly defined path—one systematically identified in advance—through a carefully chosen set of activities. Entrepreneurship is seen as the epitome of opportunism—requiring ventures to pivot in new directions continually, as information comes in and markets shift rapidly. Yet the two desperately need each other. Strategy without entrepreneurship is central planning. Entrepreneurship without strategy leads to chaos.

What many entrepreneurs fail to grasp is that rather than suppressing entrepreneurial behavior, effective strategy encourages it—by identifying the bounds within which innovation and experimentation should take place. But executives who want their established firms to be more entrepreneurial often don’t fully appreciate how stage-gate processes, multiple-horizon planning, and other corporate tools for managing strategic growth initiatives can undermine innovation.

The reality is, integrating the bottom-up approach of lean start-ups with the top-down orientation of strategic management remains devilishly hard. Is there a way to get the best of both worlds?

Read more here.