Strategy models & frameworks


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What is it?

Framing uses different strategy models to re-contextualise the strategy being developed, and, in doing so, inject sources of creativity into strategic thinking. It stimulates ‘divergent thinking’ by frame-stretching and then ‘convergent thinking’ by frame-setting.

Framing features in Mike’s book ‘The Strategy Manual: A step-by-step guide to the transformational change of anything‘ and is also covered in our Strategy Master Workshops.

Explanation & how to use it

The creative part of strategy development involves a combination of divergent and convergent thinking; think of a wide range of strategic possibilities and then merge, combine and synthesise them until you have a set of interconnected core ideas, around which you can build a strategy. Strategy framing is a key part of strategy development and a variety of frame-stretching and frame-setting tools can enhance the range and quality of strategic ideas.

Frame-stretching is a divergent thinking process designed to come up with new ideas about what could potentially be included in a new strategy. Strategy models (e.g. SWOT analysis or Value Proposition Design) are placed at the centre of the frame to stretch the imagination into new ways of thinking about strategy. For any of the models, work systematically around the template to imagine what your strategy might contain if focused entirely on each element of the model, for example with SWOT, focus in turn on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. By doing so, you stretch your strategy in different directions by framing it in different contexts.

Frame-setting is a convergent thinking process designed to select, refine and combine the creative ideas generated for a new strategy. Complete the frame-setting template for your chosen model by differentiating between what’s included in strategy and what’s excluded, whilst imagining your strategy is focused on each element of the model in turn. You can use the ideas you generated in frame-stretching as a basis for this exercise.

This frame-stretcher and frame-setter approach can be used with a wide variety of strategy models, such as SWOT analysis, Value Proposition Design, the Value Model of Strategy, Stakeholder analysis, ‘Where to play, how to win’ and Ways of thinking model (see templates attached). These can be used to re-frame your strategy in different ways, and then both generate and refine creative strategy ideas bounded by these different frames. Whilst developing a new strategy, you can use several of these models to try to maximise your creative input into the process.


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Author of 'The Strategy Manual' and 'Core Values', Goal Atlas founder and Director, Mike Baxter, is a renowned strategy expert, keynote speaker and thought leader. He publishes regular articles on all aspects of strategy and strategic planning and frequently shares his ideas and expertise via the Strategy Distilled newsletter, LinkedIn and other invited presentations.

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