I don't believe in having a digital strategy. But I do believe in having a strategy that is fit for a digitally empowered world (a subtlely expressed but substantively big difference). So I thought John Hagel's thoughts about the shift in emphasis from strategies 'shaped by terrain' to strategies 'shaped by trajectory' were interesting. Traditional approaches to strategy, says John, are profoundly shaped by the current landscape. Whilst there are still dynamic components to the strategy (such as responses to shifts generated by your own or competitor activities), the starting point is always your current position and the environment that surrounds it.
Strategies of position still matter, but at a time of accelerating change and increasing uncertainty we need more than ever to have a point of view on the trajectory of change and ‘what degrees of freedom we might have in shaping these outcomes through our actions’. In other words to position in the context of the future, not the present. That point of view needs to look from the future towards the present rather than the other way round.
I do think that we're very guilty of framing the future through the lens of the present - the kind of strategy that can lead to marginal thinking, and make it less likely for us to invest in the saplings that can become fully grown trees in a changed and unfamiliar future.