Strategic Narratives for Future Innovation

Turbulent global markets present particularly difficult environments for established companies to choose new strategic directions. In these situations, strategy making should “involve constructing and reconstructing strategic narratives that reimagine the past and present in ways that allow the organisation to explore multiple possible futures”.

December 2014

Constructing compelling strategic narratives is not a straightforward, linear process – and can often lead to intense conflict and friction among senior organisational members. In navigating the process, executives are reminded of four things:

  1. Strategy making isn’t about accurate forecasting: Nonetheless, ‘articulating projections certainly shapes attention, deliberation, investment and effort’.
  2. To build an innovative future, remember the past: Leaders should engage with the past to shape a narrative that connects an understanding of the company’s history to a new future direction
  3. Strategy making isn’t about getting the narrative perfect: Strategy making is an evolutionary process; settle on a narrative that is “good enough for now” so that the company can move forward and take action
  4. Breakdowns in strategy making are not failures but learning opportunities: Breakdowns can sometimes impede progress, but they can also provoke searches for new interpretations and possibilities.

Sources: Kaplan, S. and Orlikowski, W. (2014) Beyond Forecasting: Creating New Strategic Narratives, SMR, Fall; Boje, D. (2008) Storytelling Organizations, Sage, London.

Referenced techniques


Strategic Positioning

This concept reviews the formal and rational processes that can help organisations achieve the strategic positioning of their products and brands. It also addresses the success factors and implementation recommendations.


Strategic Planning

This concept reviews the process of strategic planning and shows how companies can implement strategies to enhance company and product competitiveness. It also offers a summary of the benefits of the process and examples of its application.


Scenario Planning

The concept describes what business scenarios are and how to build a step-by-step process when developing a strategic plan. You will also learn what factors are critical for the success of scenario planning and the advantages and disadvantages of this approach.

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