Over at my HBR Blog I’ve provided some evidence that yes, technology adoption and consequently many strategy decisions seem to be taking place at a more frenetic pace than ever. It goes together with the whole phenomenon of transient advantage, because it reflects a few factors that I think are new. The first is that increasingly, you don’t need to own assets to utilize them. When you can simply borrow or rent assets that you don’t need to first create, that lessens the time you need to make a strategic move. The second is that more and more of the assets that we are using to do business are “light” – they are digital, or software or knowledge-based, not physical things. Competition, for instance, is increasingly to do with customers’ experiences rather than with product features. Third, with advanced infrastructure able to take digital (and sometimes physical) offers all around the world quickly, the pace increases.
What does all this mean for strategic decisions? Well, as I say in my recent book, fast and roughly right is often going to trump slow and precise. This is a different mind-set for a lot of us who were raised on the idea that quantification and detailed analysis are the way to go. Instead, what we need to think about is how much it will cost us and what the risk will be of getting to the next step quickly. When you get there, you can re-plan. But don’t hold out for numerical precision.