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Structured facts play a key role when defining new business development initiatives. Where it is easy to rely on high level market trends and not diving deep enough. To reach the right level you need to aim high. To reach a level where brutal truths and key insights guide your decisions.
Purpose of the template
The purpose of this template is to support your efforts to drill deep enough. Into key strategic questions you have identified for your business. Leveraging the framework laid out by Willie Pietersen in his book Strategic Learning. A model suitable for analyzing each strategic question on a single page.
Key Strategic Questions
Key Strategic Questions (KSQ) cover five main categories. Macro economy, Market Dynamics, Customers, Competitors and Own realities. The formulation of the question guide your analysis. An art deserving time to secure questions are clear and crisp enough.
Example: How will the use of smartphones for social media change the next 3 years – customers.
What is the situation today?
Articulate the situation you see today. What characterize the market. Centered around 3-5 key topics. Focus on observations of topics with an impact on your strategy making. with extra attention on topics where you can expect disruptions.
Example: Smartphones owners take selfies weekly and post on several social media sites.h
What did it look like yesterday?
Articulate the situation yesterday on the same topics. Phrased to allow you to see if a change has occurred already. And if it is possible to describe the size of the change.
Example: Early adopters pioneered selfies and posted from major events on Facebook.
What do all know about the future?
Capture the main developments expected. Keep this part to general knowledge all players in the market have access to. Undisputed trends. Obvious facts. Predictions with no/low level of uncertainties. Aspects you can expect to be solid in your plans. The foundation for your direction, but with limited impact on your differentiation. As before be specific on if and how large the change is versus today.
Example: Sharing personal moments remains high, but with a growing integrity concern.
Which unique insights do we have?
This is the single most important section of this template. Building on unique perspectives and predictions your company have. Based on detailed data about customers. Or advanced technology research at the fore front. Most valuable is when you nail market inflections and digital disruptions.
This level of insights represents the foundation for differentiation. And for accurate prediction about when inflection points occur. With the strength of the inflection defined by how big the underlying concern is. And the number of contributing forces driving the inflection point.
Be open to work with a hypothesis in early stages of your work. A hypothesis you validate and refine in an iterative process. and dare to put numbers on your hypothesis to feel how accurate you are. Initial numbers will always be wrong. By using numbers your validation will be simpler.
Example: By 2019 early adopters use encrypted social media sites for private posts.