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Strategy in Practice: A Practitioner's Guide to Strategic Thinking, 2nd Edition by George Tovstiga

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Chapter 2

Articulating the Strategic Question

If only I had the right question...if only I had the right question;...the formulation of the problem is often more important than its solution.

—Albert Einstein

In this chapter, we:
  • establish and argue the case for the importance of articulating the “right” strategic questions;
  • explore the potential origin of good strategic questions;
  • examine how the right strategic questions are formulated;
  • explore how questions are triggered and how these lead to issues that require framing and analysis;
  • examine the importance of challenging assumptions and the prevailing industry logic.

What's in a question? A lot, potentially. The German theoretical physicist and philosopher Werner Heisenberg1 argued that nature reveals itself to us by virtue of the questions we ask. Nature does not reveal itself by asking just any question; hence it is critical that appropriate questions are asked.

In this chapter we explore how strategic questions are formulated and their role in the strategic thinking process. Strategic questions represent the starting point of the strategic thinking process as indicated in Figure 2.1.

Figure 2.1 Strategic thinking and issues framing in the greater context of strategic thinking

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The importance of articulating the right questions for the physical sciences is easily extended to the social context: contexts relevant to the ...

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