Smiknowledge is inviting Strategy Academics, Strategy Practitioners (industry and Government) and consultants to submit a proposal to present a paper and/or presentation at this conference. With a focus on the ‘enabling’ of strategy, that is ‘making strategy work in practice’ expressions of interest are invited from individuals from all three disciplines to contribute content in this event. The conference organisers will then match submissions from all arenas with the objective of designing a conference program around multidisciplinary sessions.
Successful applicants will be invited to give their presentation in a designated session and then participate in cross disciplinary panel discussion based on the content presented on that session.
Academic submissions will be double-blind peer assessed as would be expected of any conference submission. Other applicants are asked to submit a proposal on the topic of their choice; their submission is required for conference scheduling purposes. Of course, not everyone will wish to participate as a presenter, you are welcome to attend in any capacity. As a guideline, the following topics are proposed as general elements of the conference theme:
Introduction, key note address: The challenges we face; Digital disruption, environmental decline and social anxiety
The extent of disruption arising from digitisation and elements of the phenomenon referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution automatically demand a renewed strength of leadership if organisations are to survive and indeed prosper from the application of new technology. Digitisation however is not the only causal factor of disorder over the next decade or so. Other significant social and environmental factors that will exert an influence on business and communities include an ageing population, the decline of physical health and wellbeing, urbanisation, global transmigration, ecological and environmental degradation to name a few.
A strategic insight is required; the question is what should that be? We will ask our key note presenter to lay the foundation for the conference through the provision of insight into the foregoing outline. Conference discussions groups will then be created, speakers are asked to submit proposals based on the specific content described in each of the following streams:
Stream 1, Strategy Process: Reinventing strategic planning:
Concepts such as “strategy at the speed of light” and declarations that “strategy is dead” are heralded as modern day perspectives of strategic management. Worst (or best, depending on your point of view) is the throwaway “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. While each of these are vague in meaning, clearly the use of traditional approaches to strategy and planning are questionable, in terms of both value and relevance.
As a solution, a reinvention of ‘planning’ has been proposed, as has the adoption of a philosophy of agile strategy. A program of continual strategy renewal in effect transforms the static, annual plan into an everyday, strategically focused management and reporting mechanism. A notion of agile strategy points to a capacity for collaborative leadership, unified ownership of strategic intent, an unbreakable commitment to the firm’s strategic direction and a predisposition towards the rapid redeployment of corporate resources.
Issues to be considered: What is your perspective of the state of strategy process? We invite you to propose your point of view on alternative approaches to ‘strategic planning’ and to be prepared to defend that view with your peers and other counterparts engaged in the practice of strategic management.
Stream 2: Strategic Thinking: Getting ready for strategic decision making:
Speed of organisational learning may be, according to one of the world’s most successful strategy practitioner’s (Arie De Geus) “a firm’s only source of sustainable competitive advantage”. The reasoning behind this philosophy is a fundamental observation that business growth (profit, cash flow) will only occur when an organisation possess a capacity to grow its knowledge base and thereby, the capabilities, competences and stature of its people. Knowledge captured through a capacity for organisational learning is a key contributor to breakthrough strategic thinking. Formalisation of learning in the form of substantive organisational development ensures its alignment between creativity, innovation and rigorous strategic decision making. Such a capability is grounded in the fundamentals of strategic planning (or its alternative), but also calls for an understanding about situations that are both adaptive and inventive along the way.
Increasingly, there is a call for far greater involvement of strategy practitioners in the design of a firm’s approach to organisational learning and development. In view of the sharpness of the trajectory that is glibly described as ‘rate of change’, the learning and development function must now not only provide support to the realisation of a source of competitive advantage for the here and now; it must also provide insight into sources of competitiveness well into the future. In other words, not only must strategy inform learning, learning must also inform strategy; in the form of a knowledge based, strategically focused knowledge management system.
Issues to be considered: Is a dynamic learning and development capability a valid function in a business/corporation? What value would you expect to get from such a function and how well can it be aligned to strategy? What is your experience in this field and what should we do to embed a capacity for a strategically focused learning and development capability in an organisation, assuming you agree that it is necessary?
Stream 3: Strategic Change: Coping mechanisms in an era of unbounded disruption.
There is generally a strong commitment from members of the three arenas of strategy referred to above that the concept of systems thinking and the notion that an organisation is very much a virtual, but living system carries a high degree of validity. With that in mind we can agree that on one hand, a living system (firm) must possess a capability to adapt and continually disrupt itself if it is to successfully survive and thrive in a world of increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. On the other hand, we can also agree that in addition to adaptation, the fundamentals of strategic thinking demand that a living system (firm) must also possess a capacity to invent new living systems altogether, thereby creating its own, unique future.
A word for change that implies the invention of new living systems (as opposed to simple adaptation) is not however readily apparent. In the absence of a more appropriate word therefore, we use the term prosponse as a means to describe the way in which an organisation can disrupt itself with the objective if creating a new and unique, living system – beyond its core.
Issues to be considered: What are your views on organisational ‘sponsiveness’, especially in times of significant disruption. Can it be managed? Should it be managed? How do we promote positive change, transform to new business models while at the same time protect our primary sources of income?
Stream 4: Strategy innovation: Out of the box strategic thinking and tool use
In this fourth session, we invite proposals from individuals or groups wishing to present on strategy tools or topics that can be deemed to make a significant contribution to the future of business management and leadership and the practice of strategy in general. We recognise that strategy is about the future, but as the future does not yet exist we cannot rule any specific aspect of strategic thinking in or out.
Issues to be considered: What advice can you provide to strategy practitioners facing a highly uncertain future? How can they cope? What levels of risk must they possess and who should they turn to for help? What tools are yo aware of that will make the future of strategy practice more effective? We would like to hear your take on the strategy practices that you will be using and will be recommending in the future.
The Format for each stream is as follows: The format is the same for each of the four sessions that will be conducting during the day:
- A 1 hour Key Note Presentation will be provided from a Subject Matter Specialist for each of the four themes that make up the program. The format for this session is a presentation from the specialist followed by an open forum discussion.
We will than have a 1.5 Hr Session that is made up of:
3 Speakers at 10 – 15 mins each per speaker. This will be followed by a panel led, open forum of about one hour where individual groups, or an audience wide discussion will take place for the purposes of open discussion and idea generation.
All of the foregoing is flexible and is designed to enable ideas and feedback to flow freely for collation and publication post the event. On the latter objective we will provide content for publication in The Asia Pacific Business Review and International Journal of Business and Globalisation.