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Shaping Possibilities: A Design Science Approach to Developing Novel Strategies

Violina P. Rindova, Luis L. Martins
Published: 1 October 2021

Abstract: The goal of strategy is not only to address a given environment, but also to change it to a firm’s advantage. In this article, we maintain that design science provides a useful theoretical foundation for understanding the development of novel strategies by shifting strategists’ perspective from what is to what could be, from the past and present to the future, and from choosing among existing alternatives to discovering problems and solutions. We propose a structured process based on design mechanisms, which enables strategists to overcome the impediments to generating novel strategies that have been identified in prior research. The process we theorize integrates (i) strategists’ shaping intentions to transform an existing situation into a preferred one, (ii) a discovery-oriented exploration of problems and solutions based on designing without final goals, and (iii) stakeholder dialogue to validate and extend novelty and value. We discuss how it extends the micro-foundations of strategy with respect to the generation of strategic foresight and shaping intentions, as well as the work at the intersection of stakeholder strategies and complex societal problems.
Keywords: goal / science / novel strategies / structured / strategists / stakeholder / shaping / extend / foundations

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