Chapter 3: Why Strategy Matters for Product Development

product development reference tool

What to Expect

This chapter provides a high-level explanation of why strategy is important for product development. At its most basic, strategy defines where you are going, how you will get there, and how you will know when you have arrived. Strategy is tightly integrated into the Exploratory Product Development (ExPD) process, and it is the first segment within the process.

We will discuss why strategy matters for product development and why it is often slighted or completely avoided. We then present an overview of why the traditional approaches to strategy no longer work and why there is a need for a new adaptive approach that reacts more
quickly to continuous change and uncertainty. As an alternative to traditional approaches, we introduce the s2m Strategic Framework™.

We review the three different frameworks (stable, moderately dynamic, and highly dynamic environments) at a general level, covering (a) the characteristics of each environment, (b) a description of each strategic framework, and (c) the internal capabilities and infrastructure
needed for each model. We use the term environment instead of market because it is a broader term that can include regulatory, technology, industry trends, and demographic, social, and economic forces. We end the chapter with our case study, describing Turba’s strategies using the s2m Strategic Framework. These strategies will help guide Turba throughout the ExPD process.

Sample Content:

Download PDF Limitations of Traditional Strategy

Related Resources:

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Other Resources:

Michael E. Porter, “What Is Strategy?,” Harvard Business Review, November–December 1996. (May Require Subscription)

A classic approach to understanding an industry and how change can affect strategy is Michael Porter’s book Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors (New York: Free Press, 1998). Chapter 1 describes five-forces analysis, and Chapter 8 describes industry evolution.

A practical explanation of business models and tools can be found in Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Tim Clark, and Alan Smith, Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010).

Kathleen Eisenhardt has researched and published extensively on strategy in changing environments. We found her work valuable in developing our s2m Strategic Framework. Kathleen Eisenhardt and Donald Sull, “Strategy as Simple RulesHarvard Business Review (January 2001). (May Require Subscription)

Zelong Wei, Yaqun Yi, and Hai Guo, “Organizational Learning Ambidexterity, Strategic Flexibility, and New Product Development,” Journal of Product Innovation Management 31 (2014): 832–47 (Requires Subscription)

Glossary of product development terms