Zoom In and Zoom Out – 20 Years Later

be radical Briefing | May 30th, 2022

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Dear Friend,

Last week I joined Texas all-star serial entrepreneur Joseph Cabrera on his Podcast “Professionally Offensive” for a super fun, pretty far-reaching conversation about entrepreneurship, life and leadership lessons, innovation and disruption. You can catch the episode on Spotify and Apple Podcast.

And now, this…

Practical Futurism // Decode. Disrupt. Transform.

The future of strategy has an interesting history, and that history is filled with frameworks that didn’t hold up as the world around them changed. One of our favorite frameworks, the Zoom Out / Zoom In approach to strategy long promoted by our friend John Hagel, offers a strikingly durable counterexample.

John has been writing and speaking about Zoom Out / Zoom In for 20+ years, and if anything, the approach has only grown better suited to the world at large over time. Why? The keys are simplicity and flexibility. Zoom Out / Zoom In was designed to give organizational leaders a sense of grounding in an unpredictable world. The insight was to push them to think continuously on two very different time horizons: a very long term of 10-20 years out and the very near term of the next 6-12 months. Asking how and why the organization would be relevant in a market/world shaped by macro-forces 10-20 years out provides a long-term focus on a north star or durable purpose, while thinking about specific steps to be taken in the next 6-12 months keeps the organization moving forward and learning in the right direction. The art consists in continually reconnecting the near-term exploration with the long-term goal to activate what Hagel called “radical incrementalism”.

It’s a simple, powerful framework that only becomes more powerful (and powerfully clarifying) in a world of accelerating change, and interestingly, one of the most significant differences in the way that the framework is often presented today vs. 20 years ago is that the original mandate was to look only 5-10 years out. Today, the deeper, longer-term thinking has only become more necessary to navigating our complex and ever-changing world. (via Jeffrey)

What We Are Reading

🎯 The Best Strategies Don’t Just Take a Long View. They Take a Broad View. In today’s business world, change, uncertainty, and disruption are now a constant. In order to best devise strategy in this new world, leaders must be able to adopt a broader view. That means focusing on systems not sectors, scenarios not forecasts, and playbooks not plans. JaneRead

🕰️ How to Live on 24 Hours a Day: Arnold Bennett on Living a Meaningful Life Within the Constraints of Time Just as money can be spent on anything, so can time, but most of us fail to understand time until it’s too late. MafeRead

📺 ‘The end of the universe’: China’s forgotten celebs resort to selling stuff on livestream Faded celebrities in China point to one of the strange futures of global e-commerce as it further embraces live-streaming. JeffreyRead

🧑‍🎨 Creator Economy Winter, TikTok’s Rivals and NFTs: Highlights From the Creator Economy Summit Revisiting the Information’s creator economy summit, this article provides an overview of what the field is debating. The role of creators to consumers, a focus on the real-world away from NFT’s, and a lack of a central point of information in the Metaverse were some points. JulianRead

🥸 We Are All Confident Idiots From Dunning, of the Dunning/Kruger effect, comes a seemingly universal truth — and a good reminder to keep our ego in check. PascalRead

Tidbits

🍓 The world’s largest vertical strawberry farm opens in Jersey City

👶 Parenting Advice: Teach Your Kids Poker, Not Chess (and also: our kids are far behind due to COVID)

😴 Climate Change affects our sleep

🚜 Farm vehicles approaching weights of sauropods exceed safe mechanical limits for soil functioning

🌤️ Lessons for the climate crisis: How we fixed the ozone layer

Internet Finds

Planning a trip this summer and need a great out-of-office message? Iceland allows you to outhorse your email! 🐴

In Case You Missed It

🏴‍☠️ The Heretic: To Commit, Let Go

🧨 Disrupt Disruption: Listen in on our fascinating (and super fun) conversation with David Siegel, CEO of Meetup.com — we talk about failing, culture, pivoting, and many other things.

Radically yours, take good care, friend!

— Pascal, Mafe and the three Js (Jane, Jeffrey, and Julian)


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