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Strategic Agility

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Strategic Agility

The Art of Piloting Initiatives

IMD International,

15 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Piloting offers leaders ways to assess cost savings and viability before fully implementing new business endeavors.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • For Beginners


Organizations must regularly implement strategic initiatives to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced economy. Yet for firms operating globally, introducing new products or processes company-wide presents significant challenges. For example, balancing the desire for local variations against the need for corporate uniformity requires a disciplined and unifying implementation strategy. Strategy experts Bettina Buchel and Rhoda Davidson show how piloting initiatives before fully adopting them offers organizations clarity in the face of uncertainty, and helps stakeholders make informed decisions.


Plan and prepare strategic initiatives well.

Businesses rely on strategic initiatives to grow and stay competitive in a disruptive business environment. Businesses need to employ two sorts of initiatives to remain viable and profitable: 

  • Business efficiency initiatives – These initiatives improve existing processes and decrease expenditures. They generally emerge from challenges faced by management, such as reducing complex processes or redundancies, and produce a moderate return on investment with low risk. An example would be the introduction of a new customer relationship management system that reduces operating costs.
  • Growth initiatives – These initiatives introduce more risk and uncertainty since they involve launching something new – an innovative product or service – with the goal of enhancing revenues by retaining existing customers and attracting new ones. Successful growth initiatives can greatly increase revenues.

Globally changing systems or introducing new products and services without testing the market disrupts company operations and risks failure.&#...

About the Authors

Bettina Buchel is a professor of strategy and organization at IMD. She has expertise in strategy implementation and business development. Educator, business consultant and entrepreneur Rhoda Davidson directs the MBA program in the executive development division at Emlyon business school.

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