Complex strategic environments require simple strategic actions

I recommend Dave Snowden's and Mary Boone's excellent paper which defines 4 strategic environments:

  1. Simple (known knowns - the domain of best practice)
  2. Complicated (known unknowns - the domain of experts)
  3. Complex (unknown unknowns - the domain of emergence)
  4. Chaotic (unknowables - the domain of rapid response) 

It is crucially important to distinguish between these for domains of strategic environments and the strategic actions or Projects (as defined by OpenStrategies Ltd) that are required in each environment.

Without exception, individual actions (within Projects) in any strategic environment must necessarily and unequivocally be simple - they have to be known-knowns.  The consquences of these actions (i.e. the Results, Uses and Benefits which may arise from multiple interacting simple actions) may be uncertain but the individual actions themselves must be simple.

Therefore the implementation of every strategy must necessarily start with simple actions.



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