Enterprise Strategy:

Strategy Innovation

Strategic Intent

Inspiring Means by Which Your Organization Will Achieve Its Vision

By: Vadim Kotelnikov

Founder, Ten3 Business e-Coach Inspiration and Innovation Unlimited!


"Everything depends upon execution; having just a vision is no solution."  

Stephen Sondheim



Strategic Intent Opportunity-driven Business Development Enterprise Strategy Discovering Opportunities Change Management Ten3 Business e-Coach: why, what, and how

10 Commandments of Innovation

Yin and Yang of Value Innovation


Strategic Intent versus Traditional Missions and Visions3

  • Traditional company visions and missions, developed in one-day strategy session, often lack discovery, opportunity and purpose, the critical elements of strategic intent

  • Strategic intent cannot be planned all in advance. It must evolve on the basis of experience during its implementation. Separating strategy creation from strategy implementation by using corporate planners or consultants for the former activity is thus a hindrance to the evolution of a successful strategy. Linking creation and implementation supports the overall process, and thus a strategy emerges and evolves.

The Ideal Purpose of the Statement of Strategic Intent1

To provide for every member of your organization and its principal business partners:

  1. a theory

  2. an understanding

  3. a structure of interpretation, or

  4. an orientation of the world



Components of Strategic Intent

  1. Decomposition of exploration rules into the next level of detail

  2. Linkages to the exploration rules

  3. Transition rules that define how it will migrate from its current design and ecosystem to a future business design and ecosystem

Strategies of Market Leaders

Visionary Growth Strategies

  • Vision and Stretch

  • Competitive and Marketing Strategies

  • Best Practices... More

The Tao of Employee Empowerment

  • Yin: Help your people to get rid of "employee" mentality

  • Yang: Inspire, challenge imagination... More

Creating a Sustainable Culture of Innovation

An 8-Step Process

  • Whet the Appetite: Create a business case for why innovation is so crucial to your company’s success. Then present it at a series of well-designed town meetings... More

Strategic Intent Defined

Strategic intent is a high-level statement of the means by which your organization will achieve its vision. It is a statement of design for creating a desirable future (stated in present terms). Simply put, a strategic intent is your company's vision of what it wants to achieve in the long term.


In complexity science's terms, strategic intent is decomposition of exploration rules into the next level of detail, the linkages to the exploration rules and the transition rules that define how it will migrate from its current design and ecosystem to a future business design and ecosystem.1

Purpose of Strategic Intent

The logic, uniqueness and discovery that make your strategic intent come to life are vitally important for employees.  They have to understand, believe and live according to it.

Strategy should be a stretch exercise, not a fit exercise. Expression of strategic intent is to help individuals and organizations share the common intention to survive and continue or extend themselves through time and space.

Inspiring Culture: 5 Elements

 Cases in Point  Using Strategic Intent to Inspire Radical Innovation

DuPont asked their scientists to help the corporation "invent its ways" out of the company financial malaise.

Texas Instruments exhorted their employees to "find new businesses in the white spaces" between existing business units.2

In other cases, employees were urged to move the firm beyond the constraints of current customers, current business models, and current technologies to explore growth in new directions.

Analog Devices urged their employees to get into a new industry (the automotive industry).

Otis Elevators asked their people to pursue an industry "Holy Grail" (to find a way to move people up and down a mile-high building).


Air Product urged their employees to lead the next industry-transforming breakthrough (gas separation technology).

Developing a Statement of Strategic Intent

Strategic intent takes the form of a number of corporate challenges, specified as short term projects and opportunities.

The strategic intent must convey a significant stretch for your company, a sense of direction, discovery, and opportunity that can be communicated as worthwhile to all employees. It should not focus so much on today's problems, which are normally dealt with by company visions and missions, but rather on tomorrow's opportunities.

The strategic focus is the starting point for developing a statement of strategic intent. A statement of strategy must become then a statement of design through which the principles, processes and practices of an organization are developed. These statements must represent the whole as seen from any location in the organization.

Strategic intent should specify the competitive factors, the factors critical to success in the future. The end result should lay beyond the present planning period.

Competitive Strategies: 2 Types

Your strategic intent should also be accompanied by intermediate goals against which company achievements can be measured. It cannot be developed in a one-day strategy session, it should develop and mature with time.

Discovery and detection of opportunity serve as platforms for developing strategic intent. It is based on a vision of how the future will look in 10-15 years. A strategic intent creates a picture of the customer daily life and describes discontinuities and anticipated changes from the world of today. It describes future customer's needs and the success factors required for meeting these needs. "To achieve great things, you need ambitious visions. And it does not matter that vision cannot be laid out in details. It is the direction that counts."3


 Discover much more in the


Linking Creation of a Strategic Intent with its Implementation...

Strategy Innovation: Evolution of a Successful Strategy...

System Approach to Management...

Competitive Innovation...

Opportunity driven Business Development...

Dynamic Strategy as a Source of Sustainable Competitive Advantage...

Strategic Achievement...

Leading Innovation...

Principles for Driving Growth Through Innovation...

 Case in Point  Coca Cola...

 Case in Point  Silicon Valley Firms...

Case in Point  Charles Schwab...




  1. "Managing Complexity", Robin Wood

  2. Radical Innovation, Harvard Business School

  3. "Changing Strategic Direction", Peter Skat-Rordam

  4. Strategic Management, Vadim Kotelnikov

  5. 3 Strategies of Market Leaders, Vadim Kotelnikov

  6. Inspiring Corporate Culture, Vadim Kotelnikov