Strategy Tools for a Shifting Landscape By Jacobides

This article written by Jacobides discusses strategic planning in a unstable environment from the perspective of defining a narrative instead of typical mathematical interpretations. In the constant changing world, he sees strategy as a narrative with plots, subplots, and characters rather than the traditional strategy tools such as maps, graphs, and equations. The traditional strategies such as the Porter’s five forces and blue ocean thinking are too simple to interpret the complex make up of the business environment. Against traditional trend, Jacobides says defining a strategy is like writing a narrative or “playscript” as he puts it. A playscript is “a narrative that sets out to cast characters in a business, the rules they observe, the plots and subplots in which they play a part in, and how companies create and retain value as the business and the cast interact(2).” The metaphor Jacobides presents gives a picture of what strategy looks like. He outlines how to develop a playscript:

  1. Write the current corporate and business playscript. – Including, roles, plot, motivations, characters, interactions between them.
  2. Rewrite your playscript. – reinvent the playscript and break away from traditional markets that dominate the market.
  3. Future-proof your playscript. – Adapt to customer needs.

After writing a playscript, he gives characteristics of a good playscript to see where your company lines up. The characteristics are the following: imaginative, outward-facing, robust, and plausible. Playscripting requires the company to take a GOOD hard look at their company and their sector which helps them to focus on their competitive advantage in the market place.


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