April 2019 / NO. 1

The Four C’s in Breakthrough Strategies

Most strategy models & tools are suited to the understanding of the existing business rather than to dreaming up new ways to reshape it with the aim to see in time the ‘Strategic Inflection Points’
In our Intelligence Briefing “How many SIPs does your organization face?” we explained the SIPs, ‘Strategic Inflection Points’. These SIPs are not easy to spot and you can’t hide from them. There are several strategy models that can be used to identify these SIPs: Strategy under Uncertainty, Strategy as Active Waiting, Where-to-Play & How-to-Win, Porter Five Forces and more. We need this kind of strategic models to understand the competitive arenas and to get access how you can best deploy your resources and competencies there. HBR April 2019 publishes about four approaches in building ‘breakthrough strategies’. Let have a look at the Four Cs:
  1. Contrast: to identify and challenge the assumptions undergirding the company’s or industry status quo – challenging conventional thinking
  2. Combination: to link products or services that seem independent from or even in tension with one other – brainstorming on new combinations of products and services
  3. Contraint: to look at the organization’s limitations and to consider how they might actually become strengths – identifying the incompetencies and encourage new ways of thinking and acting
  4. Context: to reflect on how a problem similar to your company’s was solved in an entirely different context, surprising insights may emerge – explaining your business to outsiders in other industry sectors and engage with lead users, extreme users, and innovation hotspots
To be sure with strategy, it requires tools that can help to identify surprising, creative breaks from conventional thinking combined with tools for analyzing the competitive arena, the dynamics of threats and opportunities in this arena, and the company’s resources and competences. It’s a matter of being creative and rigorous at the same time. Imagine how strategic competitive intelligence can make this happen!

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