Summary of Strategic Doing

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  • Well Structured
  • Visionary
  • Concrete Examples


To address today’s “wicked” problems, you and your company need a strategy that emulates the open, loose networks that govern daily life. Edward Morrison, Scott Hutcheson and Elizabeth Nilsen of the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab and their fellow Strategic Doing experts Janyce Fadden and Nancy Franklin offer 10 “agile leadership” skills to optimize your network strategy. The magic happens when members of your network share mutual trust and the courage to change, and combine their skills, knowledge and assets in new ways. The authors persuasively present their tactics as the right approach to complex, ambiguous and unpredictable global problems. 

About the Authors

Edward Morrison directs the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab, where Scott Hutcheson is associate director and Liz Nilsen is senior program director. She guides the growth of Strategic Doing and manages the network of colleges that teach it. Janyce Fadden directs strategic engagement studies at the University of North Alabama. Nancy Franklin, of Franklin Solutions, consults with clients on facilitating strategic programs.



Networks carry out the “Strategic Doing” approach to navigating a complex world based on 10 skills.

In today’s complicated world, complex adaptive systems challenge people’s attempts to solve “wicked” problems such as climate change. Wicked problems are ambiguous, and you may lack crucial information when you try to address them. They change constantly, and attempts to solve them can produce unintended consequences.

The strategic planning model can’t tackle wicked problems because it demands a stable, visible environment and a command-and-control communications structure. However, “open, loosely connected networks” can address such challenges and are coming into a dominant position. Small groups of decision makers don’t control voluntary, task-oriented networks. These networks follow a new, alternative strategy informed by the internet and software design. Such strategies are flexible, adaptable and able to keep up with rapidly evolving situations.

In a hierarchy, a leader sets the agenda and people report up to him or her. In a network, members align themselves toward&#...

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