It is frequently argued that strategy’s holy grail—the pursuit of sustained competitive advantage—is futile in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world. Instead, so the argument goes, organizations should focus on agile strategy, thereby realizing a dynamic and continuous stream of short-term advantages. But is this really a good idea? Does making strategy more agile help? And what are the risks of agile strategy? Origins of the idea.
The idea behind agile strategy is not new. Far from that. Both with respect to the content and the process of strategy it has been around for more than three decades.With respect to strategy content it appears in one of the core discussions in the strategy literature–the discussion about what can be an organization’s internal sources of sustainable competitive advantage. In the 1990s, the focus was on resources. About a decade later, and realizing that resource-based advantages can only be temporary, the attention shifted to the processes by which the resource-base is built, organized and maintained: to dynamic capabilities.