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Elevate: The Three Disciplines of Advanced Strategic Thinking by Rich Horwath

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DISCIPLINE

#1

Coalesce

To bring together from disparate parts, requires both the sciences and the arts.

In January 1922 at the Royal Theater in Madrid, Juan de la Cierva watched a performance of Don Quixote. During the performance, Cierva’s attention was drawn to a windmill on stage. He observed that the blades of the windmill flapped slightly with each rotation because they were made of flexible slivers of palm-tree wood. Cierva had been working on flight machine prototypes with blades atop the fuselage, and he had run up against one big problem: The propeller blades rolled to the right during testing. His revelation during Don Quixote was that the prototypes featured blades that couldn’t flap, limiting the aircraft to a slow forward hover, which caused the roll over. If instead the blades were made of material that allowed them to flap like the windmill, then the advancing blade could flap upward, providing some lift, while the retreating blade flapped downward, producing extra lift. Cierva’s flash of insight would prove to be the key principle in the flight of all single-main-rotor helicopters today.1

Cierva’s discovery captures the essence of insight. An insight is the combination of two or more pieces of information or data in a unique way that leads to the creation of new value. Strategic thinking, then, is the ability to generate insights that lead to competitive advantage. Using the lens of new value on the ideas, projects, initiatives, and tactics proposed each day ...

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