Across industries, organisations are in search of new ways to enhance their competitiveness in the midst of digital disruption and a changing competitor landscape. To guide organisations through the turbulent waters of the digital era, we need new frameworks to help shape organisational strategy and decision-making. In this article, we introduce a new strategising framework that is designed, developed and tested to support organisations to navigate and maneuver in digital spheres.
The nature of competition across many industry sectors is changing. Organisations that were traditionally archrivals are now driving innovation together through collaboration. This is prevalent in the automobile industry where new partnerships are forged between some of the industry’s strongest incumbent players, for example BMW and Mercedes, with a view to share resources to push forward new vehicle platforms, electric-car batteries and autonomous-driving technology. At the same time, born-digital organisations are seeking to disrupt entire ecosystems and destabilise the competitive landscape. In the automobile industry, Waymo, the autonomous vehicle unit of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is making waves and recently1 launched a robo-taxi service in Chandler, Arizona, for people enrolled in its early rider programme (there is, though, still a human behind the wheel. Just in case!)
Due to the influx of digital technologies and changing business models, many incumbent organisations have struggled during the last five to ten years of digital transformation, failing to adapt to new industry dynamics, changing customer preferences and the speed of innovation.
To achieve and retain a competitive position, it is critical to look outside of the organisation’s core ecosystem and anticipate the emergence of competition from affiliated and ‘invisible’ sources. Many organisations do no longer align themselves according to a ‘core business’, but utilise their resources, capabilities and competences to stretch the organisational playing field across multiple industry sectors.2
Organisations are striving to become agile and responsive in order to play in emergent ‘white spaces’. To attain a flexible and adaptive organisational mindset, it is necessary to focus more on organisational ‘strategising’ than ‘strategy’. Organisational strategising reflects the doing and practice of performing and responding to an emergent environment, learning from past decisions and behaviours and adapting these to inform how to respond to future opportunities and challenges.3 Members of the organisation make use of their ‘practical mastery’4 to navigate new situations, relying on their tacit and embodied knowledge and experiences.
The TRIP Framework
In response to a complex, fast-changing and digitally-driven environment, we have developed the TRIP strategising framework. TRIP is useful for decision-makers across organisations and industry sectors to help assess, analyse and navigate their environment and identify new opportunities for value creation. TRIP consists of four dimensions: Transparency, Responsiveness, Intelligence and Personalisation. These are four core areas that all organisations, including incumbent and born-digital, need to be alert to and, when invested in, can help steer the organisation towards new white space opportunities.
The four dimensions interact to create a dynamic ‘Organisational Push’ and ‘Customer Pull’ effect. The two dimensions, ‘Transparency’ and ‘Intelligence’, are driven by the organisation (Organisational Push), seeking to enhance its competitive position through openness and sharing (Transparency), while also being proactive in advancing knowledge and insight of the immediate and augmented ecosystems (Intelligence). Thus, Organisational Push is primarily propelled by the organisation, while Customer Pull, through ‘Responsiveness’ and ‘Personalisation’, reflects new demands and expectations driven by the market. We propose that organisations will need to become flexible in their approach and willing to venture outside of their core business in order to respond to emergent needs and new opportunities (Responsiveness). At the same time, many organisations will also benefit from the ability to meet individual customer and stakeholder demands and preferences (Personalisation).
The TRIP strategising framework can be used effectively within organisations to ascertain current engagement and performance on these four important dimensions. This can be used as a foundation to re-imagine the organisation’s strategising approach for the medium- to long-term future.
While organisations may wish to focus on all four TRIP dimensions simultaneously, prioritising a single dimension from Organisational Push (Transparency or Intelligence) and Customer Pull (Responsiveness or Personalisation) can help those organisations, needing to move swiftly, focus on identifiable and actionable strategic initiatives.
About the Authors
Dr Mike Cooray is a Professor of Practice at Ashridge Executive Education at Hult International Business School. Mike is an Academic Director and contributes to several Executive and Masters programmes in London, Dubai and Shanghai. He designs and delivers programmes in digital strategy, customer behaviour and business transformation. He has previously worked with Carlsberg, Mercedes-Benz and Siemens.
Dr Rikke Duus is senior faculty at University College London, School of Management, and visiting faculty at ETH Zurich. Rikke’s area of expertise is in digital transformation, dynamic organisations and human-tech relationships. She frequently presents at international conferences and events and is widely published in leading global media outlets.
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