Are you gaming your strategy?
We tend to do quick strategic fixes to have a sense of control and a feeling of deciding the outcomes. An example of a quick fix could be “let’s do weekly updates to our scenarios”. In this case, we rationalise and try to solve uncertainty with a straightforward (data)process.
There is also another way to work with ambiguity.
In general, the gaming metaphor is prevalent in COVID discussions. We have, e.g. scoreboards to show countries in raking order like ice-hockey teams. Currently, the top 3 winning countries with the least new infections are the Vatican, Latvia and Serbia. Ranking order is an excellent way to show information, but in this case, it also implies superiority which countries are better than others in the fight against the virus. The issue here is that we are all on the same planet and if one country is loosing, the others will lose as well.
As an antidote to gaming/quick fixes, our approach is vividness. The models we develop can create a fluid and evolving ideas between strategic issues and options. Instead of solving the strategic ambiguity, we observe and use uncertainty to make an impact.
For example, in our scenario models, we want to identify discontinuities that are hard to explain with numbers only. There was the recent news that only one-third (34%) of UK white-collar employees have gone back to work, compared 83% of the French office staff.
To explain and use this percentage difference in business planning, we need to do more than track the numbers. In this case, experts knowledge is a rich source of data explaining what the numbers might explain. If we start modelling this rich qualitative data, it will help us to create new novel ideas without losing our need for a transparent protocol to manager uncertainty.