Globalisation, privatisation, deregulation, re-regulation, convergence, sustainability, the Internet, mobility and value chain re-engineering are key drivers in a changing economy. These drivers are impacting more or less all people, businesses and organisations today. Hence, doing what was done yesterday, or doing it 5% or 10% better, is seldom a winning formula for success. Major changes are often necessary to compete effectively and win.

A winning strategy begins with superior insights. The quality of generated insights will have a direct impact on the quality of the strategic choices. Up-to-date insights gained from increased learning of the actual situational context regarding at least customers, competitors, own realities, industry dynamics and the broader environment are needed to conclude what key issues and alternatives the business is facing. Companies, which have a systematic process for divergent learning and are able to expand their minds, find that such a process enables them to uncover meaningful insights about their business environment. Those companies also have the best chances of being first to find the best insights.

When you are forced to come up with a strategy, true insights are seldom something you have if you only have access to half-formed ideas, assumptions, surveys and scattered industry reports. Gaining insights requires an iterative work process. Gaining superior insights deems hard work, but it is rewarding since competing for insights is vital for the company to survive. Basically, you have to see what everyone else already sees, but think what no one else has thought yet.

A situation analysis is a vehicle for consolidating the main points from increased learning and the foundation for turning trends and reflection points into insights, i.e. crystallised insights and concise understanding of how the company will be impacted by changes in the business environment.

The trick is to get as many “Aha” moments as possible before making the strategic choice, instead of getting them when struggling with strategy implementation. These “Aha” moments occur when people all of a sudden begin to make connections or see answers, which have not been noticed before. This is when superior insights begin to surface, and new ways of thinking happen.

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