Sunday, October 23, 2005

New Tools For Strategic Planning

I’ve come across a number of resources on strategic thinking and planning that are worth a look. I’ll be talking about some of them in coming posts. Here’s the first one: an article that appeared in the August 2005 issue of MIT’s Technology Review. (Go to: It’s entitled Social Machines and provides one of the best – and most exciting – summaries of how the Web is becomes more interactive. In the words of author Wade Roush, “Web 1.0 consisted largely of text files jazzed up with browser-readable HTML instructions on how to display the text and where to find related files. Web 2.0 is more like a collection of programs that talk to one another.”

The article is an introduction to this “collection of programs”. You know what a Blog is – you’re reading one. Do you know what RSS, wikis, and podcasts are? Maybe like you, I had heard of them but not really understood what they represent and what they are pointing to. Have you heard of web-based services like Flickr, Delicious, Socialtext, and Plazes? Me neither. We’ve all seen the Web as this powerful new way to work, communicate and collaborate. But really we haven’t seen anything yet! What does this have to do with Strategic Thinking and Planning? Lots. RSS feeds, wikis and podcasts are some of the new ways people and organizations engaged in strategic planning will do research, gather and share information, create new knowledge – some of the activities that are critical to strategic thinking. Will these new tools and services replace good old-fashioned face to face? Maybe some day. In the meantime, they are powerful tools that will dramatically increase the impact of face to face meetings and contribute to more effective strategic planning and thinking efforts.