The Strategic Design Inquiry: A Formal Methodology For Approaching, Designing, Integrating, And Articulating National Strategy
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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Vision is the single greatest enabler of strategic success. Forming a vision for national strategy requires accumulating the perspectives of experts from across the government. Diversity, however, means these strategists bring different approaches even different languages to strategic discussions. While recent efforts attempt to maximize integration at lower levels, strategic integration requires aligning the way strategists frame strategic problems a framework of strategic design. Currently, there is no formal methodology for national strategic design. This paper proposes such a framework, a strategic design inquiry SDI, that orders analysis of a strategic problem and provides a common language for determining and communicating what strategists wish to accomplish. SDI begins by forming a deep understanding of the situation. Analyzing the actors and the sources of their strength reveals an approach to influencing the situation, gaining advantages at identifiable inflection points. Throughout, strategists identify structural hypotheses that govern their understanding of the situation. They envision different future scenarios, identifying criteria against which to assess the strategy and test hypotheses. SDI articulates strategy with a cognitive map, aligning planning efforts throughout the government. Even after strategy implementation, SDI calls for continuing, iterative learning and adapting, in pursuit of clearer vision and better strategy.