The world of business strategy is in transition. What used to work doesn’t anymore — not necessarily. This course prepares you to think strategically in an age when companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft have become more valuable (in market cap terms) than companies like Exxon. Today, business value and competitive advantage arise more often from consumer perceptions of what is “cool” than from physical assets or economies of scale.
In this course — the first of a three-course specialization tailored specifically for the age of creativity and innovation — you will gear up for the challenges of strategy formulation and implementation in a 21st century business.
After taking the course, you’ll be able to:
– Explain why “doing” strategy is considered “the high point of managerial activity” (Mintzberg);
– Recognize and avoid the old, tired ideas about strategy that are still out there, so you can adopt fresher, better ideas;
– Point out how doing strategy has changed because of advancing technology and globalization;
– Prepare for the Capstone Project for the Strategic Management and Innovation Specialisation
Strategy can mean a lot of things. In this module, you’ll encounter examples of strategy in action that demonstrate what people mean when they talk about strategy. After completion of the module, you’ll be able to: Describe examples of strategy in action; Recognize “strategic situations”; Explain the difference between strategy as “position” and strategy as “capability” (and why that matters).
Graded: The Meanings of “Strategy”
Graded: Recognizing Strategic Situations
Graded: Strategy as Position vs Capability
The Evolution of Strategy…Past Progress, Past Mistakes
Historically, strategy consulting and strategic planning have been big business. Companies have spent a lot over the years on sophisticated, high-brow “strategic” consulting. For a long time, consultants were the strategy “high-priests” of business. Until it all fell apart. Many past approaches have now fallen into disfavor, having risen spectacularly and failed even more spectacularly. Indeed, the history of business strategy making could be called a “March of Folly” (historian Barbara Tuchman uses this expression to describe a tendency in human history to repeat the same mistakes, again and again). This module explores what the past can teach us, how we might avoid repeating past mistakes.
Graded: Learning from the History of Business Strategy
Changing World, Changing Strategies
In the past several decades, a lot has changed in the world. Many more people and nations (China, India, Russia, etc) have joined the global market economy. The number of Internet users has skyrocketed and continues dramatically upward. Shipping traffic between countries has multiplied and also continues to grow. All this world change has changed the strategy situation of most companies in a big way. It means, for example, that companies in advanced economies have to compete against rivals that have structural cost advantages, because they operate in lower cost parts of the world. This module describes the shifted and shifting strategy landscape, due to the advance of technology and the relentless march of globalization.
Graded: Strategic Implications of Changes in the World
Capstone Project Intro — Strategy in a 21st Century Creative Company
An up-and-coming (and very ambitious) design firm is unexpectedly invited to bid for a work against more prominent competitors. The job: Design the logo and other elements of the public identity of the national sports team. Winning will vault e-Types to much greater prominence. Their work will be displayed on TV and on t-shirts. And they believe they have what it takes to win. But there’s a problem. The e-Types designers, who have always thought of themselves as design revolutionaries, don’t like the guidance they’re receiving from this somewhat conservative client. In short, the designers think what the client is asking for is BORING. It’s not the kind of work they want to do or be known for…now or ever! Meanwhile, more business oriented e-Types managers and staff can hardly believe what they’re hearing from the designers — don’t they see the opportunity? This is business and there’s money to be made. The designers should GET OVER THEMSELVES and satisfy the customer. Right? Controversy grips e-Types. At stake: what kind of company will they be going forward? Can they continue to be revolutionary and still satisfy their growth ambitions? Or is it time for them to “grow up” in order to appeal to a wider range of customers. The battle is on for the soul of this company — what will YOU recommend?
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