– Thoughts on Strategy and Management

Play-to-win strategy canvas

Helpful tool for strategy formulation: the Play-to-Win Strategy Canvas

I just came across a great visual tool that supports strategy formation. It is the brand-new Play-to-Win Strategy Canvas developed by Matthew E. May. This is a one-page canvas which guides you through the whole process.

Play-to-win strategy canvas

Screenshot of the strategy canvas from http://matthewemay.com

This tool facilitates a process that is inspired from Roger Martin and A.G. Lafley’s book Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works. It starts with the question “Why do we need a new strategy?” and then guides you through seven steps:

  1. Winning aspiration
  2. Where to play
  3. How to win
  4. Capabilities needed
  5. Systems required
  6. Reverse engineering
  7. Strategic tests

There are a couple of things I like about this strategy canvas:

  • It is completely paper-based. Intended to be used with a pile of post-its, it facilitates the development of ideas.
    Software-based tools are great for collaboration and communication. However, some tasks simply require a team to come together and work on something tangible.
  • It encourages you to start with your existing strategy and to move on from there. In most situations, business strategies need an evolution, not a revolution.
  • It does not use the somewhat overworked process of internal and external analysis – SWOT – strategic options – strategic choice. Thus, it avoids the analysis-paralysis and focuses the team on the really relevant questions.

For more information, here is Matthew E. May’s introduction of the Play-to-Win Strategy Canvas, which comes with some recommendations for using the canvas.