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The Strategy & Analysis Education Series

Welcome to the  Strategy & Analysis Education Series. In every lesson in this 18 part series, we’ll cover a key framework or methodology used by leading strategy consultants.

About the Strategy & Analysis Education Series

Explore the Lessons in this Series

Go through each lesson one-by-one or jump straight to the lesson you are most interested in.

LESSON 1

Christensen’s Theory of Disruptive Innovation

5 Min Read  •  1-3 Hours Homework

Disruptive innovation has become a popular buzzword in recent years, and it’s a term that’s often used by people who don’t understand it. As we’ll learn, true disruptive innovation is a little different than popular understanding.

Lesson 1

LESSON 2

Incremental vs. Dynamic Strategic Planning

5 Min Read  •  1-2 Hours Homework

This lesson tackles the topic of strategic planning. Books have been written on this subject so we will narrow our focus to the differences between incremental and dynamic strategy planning, explore why it’s important to focus on the long-term, and help you start to think about how to apply dynamic strategic planning at your company.

Lesson 2

LESSON 3

Cipher’s Approach to Disruption Proofing, Part 1: Identifying Vulnerabilities

5 Min Read  •  30 Min Homework

This is the first in a five part series. By the end, you’ll understand and can apply these steps to effectively defending your business from disruption. The problem with disruptions is it’s hard to see until it’s too late. In order for disruption to happen, a new approach needs the right conditions. Let’s explore the first step to make your company disruption proof, identifying vulnerabilities.

Lesson 3

LESSON 4

Cipher’s Approach to Disruption Proofing, Part 2: Identifying Threats & Opportunities

5 Min Read  •  20-30 Min Homework

This lesson shares the frameworks you should use to identify threats and opportunities to your business, helping you reduce risks and protect your competitive advantage.

Lesson 4

LESSON 5

Cipher’s Approach to Disruption Proofing, Part 3: Prioritizing Disruptors

5 Min Read  •  30 Min Homework

This lesson explores Cipher’s Here, Near, Next framework, which helps you effectively prioritize disruptors.

Lesson 5

LESSON 6

Cipher’s Approach to Disruption Proofing, Part 4: Monitor, Plan, Act

5 Min Read  •  30 Min Homework

This lesson covers a framework that helps organizations structure their response to potential disruptors.

Lesson 6

LESSON 7

Cipher’s Approach to Disruption Proofing, Part 5: Communicate

5 Min Read  •  1-2 Hours Homework

This lesson shares how to best communicate the insights you’ve developed to ensure they’re used in the decision making process.

Lesson 7

LESSON 8

The Four Routes from Complexity to Conviction

5 Min Read  •  1 Hour Homework

In strategy and analysis, our job is to bring clarity to complex, uncertain situations, enabling high conviction decision making. This lesson explores the four routes from complexity to conviction.

Lesson 8

LESSON 9

The Four Kinds of Logical Reasoning

5 Min Read  •  1 Hour Homework

In solving any problem, there are four kinds of logic we can employ. This lesson explores which forms of logical reasoning are best suited to strategic thinking.

Lesson 9

LESSON 10

Differentiation vs. Table Stakes

5 Min Read  •  2-4 Hours Homework

In forming any competitive strategy, it’s important to understand the difference between differentiators and table stakes. This lesson breaks down the differences and explains why differentiation is crucial to competitive strategy.

Lesson 10

LESSON 11

Kim’s Happy Line

5 Min Read  •  1-2 Hours Homework

This lesson explores Kim’s Happy Line Theory, which states that an organization’s success is relative to how well they address their customers' most pressing needs. Organizations should ensure all needs are fulfilled to the minimal level of satisfaction, and should invest in driving higher quality solutions to their customers’ most pressing needs.

Lesson 11

LESSON 12

Treacy & Wiersma’s Value Disciplines

5 Min Read  •  30 Min Homework

It’s impossible for organizations to be successful by trying to be all things to all people. Instead, they should focus on delivering unique value to a defined market by focusing on one of three value disciplines: operational excellence, product leadership, or customer intimacy.

Lesson 12

LESSON 13

Prahalad & Hamel Core Competencies Model

5 Min Read  •  1-2 Hours Homework

One of the keys to an organization's success is its ability to identify and maximize core competencies that set it apart from competitors. This lesson explores how to clarify and build core competencies in your organization.

Lesson 13

LESSON 14

The BCG Matrix vs. The GE McKinsey Matrix

5 Min Read  •  1-2 Hours Homework

This lesson explores two of the most popular product management frameworks: the BCG Matrix and the GE McKinsey Matrix. Both frameworks are widely applied in corporate strategy, and enable organizations to manage their product portfolios more effectively.

Lesson 14

LESSON 15

Porter’s Five Forces

5 Min Read  •  1-2 Hours Homework

This lesson explores Porter’s Five Forces, a framework that measures the competitive potential of a business. Each of the five forces helps determine the potential profitability of any business, in any market. Let’s learn how to apply Porter’s Five Forces.

Lesson 15

LESSON 16

The 11 Macro Sources of Disruption

5 Min Read  •  1 Hour Homework

This lesson covers the 11 main sources of disruption that organizations should monitor. Many organizations fail to see disruption coming before it’s too late, but by monitoring these sources, it’s possible to anticipate disruption and ensure the organization is well-placed to respond.

Lesson 16

LESSON 17

The Nine Patterns of Disruption

5 Min Read  •  1-3 Hours Homework

All organizations fear disruption, such as unexpected challengers that suddenly appear and upend the business. But the reality is that the majority of disruptors follow one of nine key patterns. This lesson explores those patterns so you can understand where you’re most vulnerable.

Lesson 17

LESSON 18

Synthesis vs. Analysis

5 Min Read  •  1 Hour Homework

Synthesis and analysis play an important role in market and competitive intelligence (M/CI). But the two are often conflated, with damaging results for M/CI professionals. This lesson covers the key differences and share how you can free up more time to spend on highly valuable analysis.

Lesson 18

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