Transforming Organizations / Generative Strategy

Overcoming limits to breakthrough thinking

Often what passes for strategy is little more than incremental operational improvement that recycles old ideas. Dialogos has developed a methodology for generative strategy development that breaks through organizational constraints to uncover true potentialand create a collaborative environment that engages teams in new levels of thinking, creative direction, and coordinated execution.

There is a difference between recycling old thinkingand acting from clarity of purpose and alignment around a core set of intentions. Dialogos helps organizations develop a clear sense of identity and purpose, formulate the objectives that flow from these, and understand and make the strategic choices needed to succeed. The process begins by creating an environment where it is possible to think beyond the existing limitations, perceived or real. This involves overcoming blind spots, habits of thought and groupthink; as well as understanding the perceived risks and avoidance habits that keep people from seeing what is possible.

Our generative strategy methodology helps organizations learn to see true potential, beyond the self-imposed limits people often accept. The result is a collaborative environment in which new levels of thinking and creative direction can be perceived, understood and acted on.

Dialogos has developed a three-phased model for generative strategy development: the first phase places emphasis on building a core change team to accurately map the system dynamics and design a realistic strategy; this is followed by a phase of experimentation, prototyping, and collective capability building; and finally scaling, implementation, and replication. We help people avoid the common pitfalls in navigating change, such as initial under-investment, disregard for small experiments, or premature scaling efforts.

By developing a generative strategy with an organization’s senior leadership team—distributed across six countries—Dialogos was able to establish a coherent overall direction, align the leadership team across the region and build a shared language and set of mental models to encourage productive conversations and cross-sectoral thinking. Similarly, we helped a large US Federal agency to create a defined, transparent and collective process for making critical short- and long-term strategic choices that inform and drive the agency’s direction. By investing in a generative strategy, the agency was able to overcome a long-contentious management issue: how to give senior leadership across the agency distributed power and accountability—while also sharing centralized authority as one body.