Sailing throughout Adversity

Winds of adversity abound. Unexpected volatility. Unforeseen uncertainty. Unanticipated complexity. Unpredicted ambiguity. How can you sail her (enterprise) through such new puffs, novel blows and mysterious gusts? How do you navigate her throughout such adversity?

Strategic Innovators, a handpicked breed of exceptional skippers worldwide, have the answers. These capable helmsmen master “effective surprises”. They embrace “serendipity patterns” in their strategic endeavors. Like the ‘three princes of Serendip’ (in the ancient fairy tale), these charismatic captains sail (travel) the world, “making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of …” How? They utilize all their ‘points of sail’ in iterative circularity. Let’s sneak into their intentional strategic serendipity patterns (points of sail).


Initially, Strategic Innovators prepare their minds for serendipity. Having been exposed previously, they base their intuition on acquired knowledge. They learn how to learn from mistakes and set an intention to be open to discovery. They judge where the action is, look for novel sources of strategic evidence and juxtapose their strategies in novel ways. How? They avoid trapping her (sailboat/enterprise) in the ‘eye-of-the-wind’. They don’t bring her too much into the true wind. They don’t downsize haphazardly or economize relentlessly or cut costs ruthlessly.


When the anomalous strategic event occurs unexpectedly, Strategic Innovators recognize the potential for serendipity. In the rush of the ongoing event(s) they keep their wits about them, taking note of the event(s). They are curious to understand the accidental discovery and use their ability to see a pattern or implication. They let evidence speak for itself and hold back from jumping into conclusions. They search for a fit which includes the strategic anomaly. They look into the background to find hidden connections. How? They optimize and snatch open spaces within. They steer their sailing yachts ‘on the wind’ (‘beating’), thus optimizing their business models and transforming turbulent markets.


Continuing the iterative circular ‘serendipity pattern’, Strategic Innovators seize upon chance events, even by stumbling in the process. They capitalize on unexpected strategic contacts and relationship opportunities. They establish unforeseen connections and are on the lookout for the emergence of the strategic significant metaphor. How? They innovate and grasp white spaces around. They sail their yachts ‘off-the-wind’ (‘reaching’), thereby enriching their offering portfolios and dealing with industry discontinuities.


And, in closing the iterative circular ‘serendipity pattern’, Strategic Innovators amplify the confluence of consequences. They look out for network effects stemming from unknown links of existing strategic contacts. They share their strategic ideas, seeking co-inspiration. They remain open to externalities, making friends with the Law of unintended and beneficial consequences. How? They pioneer and seize untapped spaces beyond. They sail their yachts ‘before-the-wind’ (‘running’), thereby creating new markets, novel categories and unique industries.

But, this is what Strategic Innovators are already doing.

They recognize, seize and amplify strategic serendipity.

They capitalize on unanticipated, anomalous strategic events.

What are you doing?

Avoiding the ‘eye-of-the-wind’?

Sailing ‘on-the-wind’ (beating)?

Sailing ‘off-the-wind’ (reaching)?

Sailing ‘before-the-wind’ (running)?

Tinkering with strategic serendipity?

One Response to «Sailing throughout Adversity»

  1. October 02, 2011 at 5:11 pm, Maria Sourmelis said:
    Under the presnt global circumstances we are sailing "off the wind". Perhaps cause patience is within our personalities consequently reaching (seizing) is soemthing that comes natural to us...funny enough it never proved us wrong for 35 years we are doing business in every industry.

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