Action research in practice.
Strategy Tools has developed more than 50 new strategy and innovation tools. Most, but not all of these are published here.
What all these tools have in common is an underlying action research process to develop them. In most social sciences, action research is a commonly recognized methodology to develop new insights and understanding of social phenomena using an interactive inquiry process.
Initially defined by Kurt Lewin, Professor at MIT in 1944 and later expanded upon by a large number of behavioral scientists, including Dr. Chris Argyris, action research allows for the design, test and observation of natural phenomena in organizations.
Frequently labelled action science, OD, Cooperative inquiry or Participatory action research, the underlying principles remain largely the same. The discipline of action research seeks to observe, understand, frame new inquiries, observe, reflect and share the insights and new knowledge with the community.
Strategy Tools has applied action research methodologies to questions of strategy processes, strategy understanding, idea generation, strategic alignment, transformation, deep change and, since 2017, to the principles of Innovation Superclusters.
Reflection on these observations with the participatory research subjects, has often uncovered new insights, in turn driving new knowledge. Often, but far from always, have these observations fueled development of new tools and processes, to allow the participants to be better equipped to deal with the principles uncovered in the action research.
This constant feedback loop has fueled an ever-increasing rapid development methodology that increasingly has allowed our team to observe complex phenomena, and quickly distill the essence of these observations into new knowledge and new strategy tools.
While most developed tools today will have a body of knowledge around them, mostly from the academic fields of strategy, innovation, transformation, change management, leadership, lean startup, ecosystem and cluster development, it is largely the action – observation – reflection – distilling process that has driven the evolution and development of today’s Strategy Tools.
What started out as Christian Rangen’s PhD outline at CBS – Copenhagen Business School in 2010, has today spawned into a research Institute, a software company, Strategy Tools Global Coaches in over 30 countries, 50+ strategy & innovation tools, 1000’s of global users, and potentially $BN impact in companies worldwide.
And we are just getting started.