Strategic Engineering

Standards Information Network (Verlag)
  • 1. Auflage
  • |
  • erschienen am 26. April 2021
  • |
  • 320 Seiten
E-Book | ePUB mit Adobe-DRM | Systemvoraussetzungen
978-1-119-82131-1 (ISBN)
In the face of increasing complexity, uncertainty and difficulty inthe design and implementation of reforms, companies,organizations and institutions must strive to capitalize on theprevailing disarray by acting wisely in overcoming it.

Strategicengineering is part of an integrative, tool-based approach, inspiredby the life sciences and creative recursion .This book is structured into three parts, which correspond to thethree main phases of the strategic engineering approach: observeand discern; judge and arbitrate; act and intervene. StrategicEngineering has wide appeal, relevant to senior leaders, decisionmakers, managers and practitioners within businesses,government and local authorities. It is also intended for those whowish to develop their capability in anticipatory or transformativemanagement within economic, sociopolitical and strategiccontexts.
1. Auflage
  • Englisch
  • USA
John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • Für Beruf und Forschung
  • 6,64 MB
978-1-119-82131-1 (9781119821311)
weitere Ausgaben werden ermittelt
Jacques Arcade is a statistician-economist and teaches on variousMaster?s programmes (Sciences Po Rennes, University ParisDauphine, University Paris 13 and the IRTS Foundation). He is achief technical adviser to the United Nations and headsconsultancy firms, leading many initiatives for forward-lookingthinking and strategic innovation.
Foreword xi

Introduction xv

Part 1. Observing and Discerning: Contextualizing the Situation and Recommending a Consistent Set of Options 1

Chapter 1. Understanding the Strategic Landscape 3

1.1. Understanding the decision-making situation 4

1.1.1. Identifying the variables and factors that make up the situation 4

1.1.2. Detecting the context of the situation through structural analysis 5

1.2. Representing the context of the action 15

1.2.1. Addressing the situational context through nested frames 16

1.2.2. Conceptualizing the strategic landscape as a system with three macrocomponents 17

1.2.3. Reconstructing the multilevel landscape system 26

1.2.4. Configuring the intervention as a system connected to the landscape 32

1.2.5. Specifying the interactions of the "landscape" and "intervention" systems 32

Chapter 2. Imagining and Directing Plausible Futures 37

2.1. Exploring the future through the use of scenarios 37

2.1.1. Reorienting scenarios as a core element of foresight 38

2.1.2. Building frames or scenario profiles 39

2.1.3. Sketching morphological profiles 43

2.1.4. Adopting a two-step procedure 45

2.2. Reinforcing and fleshing out the scenarios 60

2.2.1. Enriching and completing global scenarios 60

2.2.2. Periodically updating the scenarios 63

2.2.3. Using scenarios for strategic purposes 65

Chapter 3. Developing Relevant Strategic Initiatives 67

3.1. Defining objectives and considering options 67

3.1.1. Specifying and defining the main orientations 68

3.1.2. Drafting consistent action profiles 69

3.1.3. The case of the industrial future of a department in Ile-de-France 72

3.2. Transforming options into project concepts 75

3.2.1. Creating the tree of objectives 75

3.2.2. Detecting the critical conditions for achieving objectives 77

3.2.3. Summarizing each option in the form of a logical framework 80

3.2.4. Aggregating projects into coherent programs 85

3.2.5. Considering the plan as a metaprogram of actions 88

Part 2. Judging and Arbitrating: Evaluating and Reconfiguring Recommendations to Decide on a Successful Intervention 91

Chapter 4. Defining Priorities and Gauging Courses of Action 93

4.1. Clarifying preferences and comparing options 93

4.1.1. Setting up the overall performance appraisal system 95

4.1.2. Structuring and weighting criteria according to their hierarchical breakdown 97

4.1.3. Determining the estimators and scales of appreciation of the options according to the operational criteria 100

4.2. Evaluating options according to the macrocriteria to inform the decision 100

4.2.1. Appreciating congruence with the context of intervention as a springboard for pragmatism 101

4.2.2. Assessing future validity as an indicator of future pluralism 106

4.2.3. Assessing the adequacy of the strategic reference as a guarantee of finalism 111

4.3. Gauging the options according to their propensity to immerse themselves favorably in the strategic landscape: interpreting and appropriating the triad of macrocriteria 113

4.3.1. A subtle mix of key priorities 113

4.3.2. An evolving assessment of the intervention according to the macrocriteria 115

4.3.3. Using fundamentally circumstantial multicriteria assessment 116

Chapter 5. Revealing Areas of Potential and Adopting a Decision-making Logic 119

5.1. Modeling the decision problem and scrutinizing the spaces of freedom and opportunity 119

5.1.1. Considering strategic initiatives in terms of composite options 120

5.1.2. Revealing the scope of plural actions 128

5.2. Making wise use of uncertainty and ambiguity 132

5.2.1. Adopting a strategic posture according to the level of uncertainty 132

5.2.2. Exercising circumspection in an almost inextricable situation 135

Chapter 6. Recomposing Solutions and Making the Best Decisions 137

6.1. Reconciling requirements and risks by combining simulation and optimization 138

6.1.1. Conducting a cascading arbitration and selection process 138

6.1.2. Adjusting inconsistent interventions by adapting them to constraint 139

6.1.3. Developing a robust trade-off in a reasonably uncertain future 141

6.1.4. Guarding cautiously against contingencies and any eventuality 144

6.1.5. Changing the conditions to modify or transform the intervention 149

6.2. Interpreting optimized solutions to support the decision 150

6.2.1. Visualizing the results in a triptych of dashboards 150

6.2.2. Revealing performance levels for the objectives-criteria 152

6.2.3. Describing the composition of the options and exploiting the room for maneuver 154

6.2.4. Identifying saturation and estimating the pressure of constraints 156

6.2.5. Detecting and estimating the value of proactive deposits 159

Part 3. Acting and Intervening: Judiciously Guiding Action to Generate a Virtuous Dynamic 161

Chapter 7. Identifying Predispositions to Act and Generating Compromises 163

7.1. Deciphering the power relationships and power factors of the actors 164

7.1.1. Schematizing the conceptual approach and introducing key concepts 165

7.1.2. Determining the power effect (or leverage) 170

7.1.3. Conducting a structural analysis of the actors in terms of their strengths or powers 172

7.1.4. Interpreting the power relationships according to the stature and posture of the actors 174

7.2. Extending the analytical framework to a metasystem incorporating actors and objectives 180

7.2.1. Globalizing the existence of each actor on the basis of their relations to the subsystem of factors and objectives 181

7.2.2. Aggregating the existence of each objective based on its relationship to the two subsystems of objectives and actors: visible and/or hidden preponderance and prevalence 183

7.2.3. Extending the relational existence of each actor by adding successive dimensions 183

7.2.4. Measuring the overall coherence and the capacity for relational convergence of the metasystem 185

7.3. Interpreting the dialectic of transformation of the interplay between actors 186

7.3.1. Diagnosing dynamic power accesses 187

7.3.2. Interpreting the dialectic of power access regimes 191

Chapter 8. Breathing Lasting Vitality into the Long Term 197

8.1. A gradual movement towards a good start 199

8.1.1. Mobilizing a triad of key skills to guide action 200

8.1.2. Bringing together the three dimensions of performance evaluation: finality, pluralism with regard to the future, and pragmatism 201

8.1.3. Driving and animating wise actions: a conceptual insight 204

8.1.4. Promoting a dizzying rise towards beneficial action 209

8.2. Working for sustainable viability, generating vitality 212

8.2.1. Gaining directivity through continuous monitoring and evaluation of finality: a dialogical spiral between voluntarism and conservatism 212

8.2.2. Gaining insight and agility through the permanent regulation of pluralism and pragmatism 214

8.2.3. Stimulating the emergence of sustainability through a proven experience of overall performance 217

8.3. Ensuring the completion of the vortex elevation 219

8.3.1. Gaining access to prosperity, sustainability, and vivacity as completion of directivity, perspicacity, and agility 220

8.3.2. Tending towards vitality as a sublimation of viability and a complement to prosperity, sustainability, and vivacity 220

Chapter 9. Forging a Guidance System and Deploying Skills 223

9.1. Reinvigorating practices of anticipation 225

9.1.1. Differentiating and making normative approaches more flexible 225

9.1.2. Comparing and enriching the results at the different stages of the process 226

9.1.3. Committing to reinvigorating the process of forward thinking or strategic planning 229

9.2. Making the process more fluid and sustainable through deployment plans and projects 234

9.2.1. Considering the main structures involved 234

9.2.2. Strengthening institutional anchoring and organizational learning 234

9.2.3. Preserving the logic and prerogatives of the preceding parts 235

9.2.4. Opting for a strengthened approach capable of percolating through the organization 236

9.2.5. The case of a project to strengthen technical-institutional capacities in strategic foresight 237

9.3. Practicing, integrating, and appropriating the strategic engineering approach 240

9.3.1. Thinking of organization and action as holomorphic 240

9.3.2. Organizing conferences, specific training courses, or on-site strategic engineering projects in a modular manner 242

9.3.3. Promoting and developing advanced strategic engineering instruments 247

Conclusion 249

Postface 251

Glossary 255

References 265

Index 273


The world is being shaken by economic and financial, geopolitical, socio-cultural, ethno-religious, health and epidemic-related, ecological, and climatic upheavals that foreshadow or bring about the advent of a new era for which we are insufficiently prepared. This new era, which we are insidiously making ever more inevitable, both through the persistence of our behaviors and through our relative apathy to the consequences, proves to be all the more drastic as it manifests itself in unexpected and unique ways on multiple scales of space and time. How could we, at our respective levels of action, contribute to confronting this strange adversity and its various implications in terms of uncertainty, perplexity, anxiety, and even disarray, against the backdrop of planetary crises? What methodological approaches and what primary skill sets can we see ourselves implementing to intervene rationally, taking advantage of such a situation, to overcome the "climate of downturn" and to open up new horizons for the long term?

The strategic engineering approach, the subject of this book, is an original contribution to meeting such a challenge. The transformative action that results from this approach proves to be well-reasoned and innovative, as shown by the organizational innovation it generates. Moreover, this action is cardinal, that is, decisive and archetypal, because of its pivotal nature and the agility that results from it. Moreover, this action is designed to be both engaging - right from the design phase - exhilarating and, throughout its implementation, even edifying - thanks to the appropriation that it generates and the virtuous dimension that it conceals and infuses.

Strategic engineering revolves around an integrated methodology for the creation and processing of strategic interventions, with the goal of assisting in carrying out the appropriate design, contextualized evaluation, and deployment of decisive interventions of a structuring nature.

The initial concept of strategic engineering is the result of a long period of development beginning in the 1980s, based on a systemic representation approach of the context of the intervention and the monitoring and evaluation of the situational strategic action. This approach was completed, at the end of the 1990s, in the form of a holistic and unifying reference framework or metamodel. Since then, various aspects of this framework have regularly been the subject of university master's courses, training seminars/workshops and in situ work sites. In addition, strategic engineering has given rise to the development of a demonstrator integrating the specialized tools succinctly presented in the book. This period of maturation of the strategic engineering approach has benefited from diversified experiences, both at the national and regional levels and in the framework of international organizations. This experience has been extended in key sectors of industry, advanced technologies, and services, including consulting, both within the framework of international structures and within the framework of international organizations and privately owned companies, as well as for public, civil and military administrations and organizations.

Strategic engineering is based on a conceptual, instrumental, and process-based interconnection between foresight exploration and strategic intervention. It seeks to combine conceptual relevance and operational excellence. It is in line with the fractal geometry movement, according to which many natural or ideal objects present, at each scale of observation, a complex, fragmented and irregular structure, which proves to be, following a principle of "self-similarity", analogous to that of the whole. Strategic engineering also draws inspiration from other aspects of complexity sciences, in particular by using the concept of the successive embrace or accretion of nested frames at different scales. This mechanism of abstraction at multiple levels of "meta-" order also corresponds to a spiral elevation, or rather a 3D vortex, leading to a phenomenon of dynamic "coalescence". This phenomenon induces a form of two-way emergence; this is to say, at once ascending, bringing together certain properties resulting from the interactions of the lower level, in the form of constraints, and descending, integrating certain properties resulting from the interactions of the lower level in the form of constraints, causing the lower levels to conform to the requirements of the higher level, which these have helped to generate. Strategic engineering draws inspiration from this principle of double emergence to map the context of strategic action. It is also enriched by methods borrowed from other disciplines (the sociology of organizations, policy analysis, integrative biology, physiology of action, object-oriented approach, etc.). It further uses various techniques of organization and decision support (i.e. a goal tree, table of actors' strategies, multicriteria selection, game and graph theories, convex optimization, a project logical framework, etc.). It does not claim to reinvent existing tools but works to bring them together, so as to react to them in a judicious and appropriate way, to complete them and to concoct a judicious and relatively new synthesis.

Without denying the pedagogical nature of a sequential or synoptic approach, strategic engineering has the advantage of being structured like a metamodel and thus can approach and solve questions relating to the different stages of the project cycle (anticipation, design, decision, implementation, monitoring of execution, and feedback) along the way, thanks to the flexibility of its systemic representation mode at several levels.

The underlying principle of this method, which stems from its praxeological dimension, implies that the evaluation of the overall performance of the intervention results from an assessment based on three complementary macrocriteria or viewpoints: finalism (appropriateness to the strategic frame of reference), pluralism with regard to the future (validity with regard to possible futures or "futurables"), and pragmatism (congruence with the intervention environment and context).

These criteria refer respectively to the main subsystems that make up the overall framework or "strategic landscape" of the intervention: the strategic frame of reference, the foresight scenarios, and the surrounding context. Thus, the hierarchical breakdown of the intervention's framework makes it possible to move systematically from the structure of nested frames to a tree-shaped structure of criteria describing the situation in its context; then to a "cascading" weighting of these criteria, in order to evaluate the strategic intervention in light of these criteria. Moreover, this breakdown can be carried out at different levels of aggregation. Strategic engineering integrates a process, characterized by the art of dialectcally and dynamically binding together the situational context, the vision, and the systemic relations between the participants, up to the limits of their space of initiatives. Thus, the "strategic", as a substantiated adjective embodying the essence of the underlying process of dissemination of decision and action, supplants and transcends the notion of strategy stricto sensu, once immersed in its situational context. This suggests the possibility of accessing a more subtle form of "physiology of strategy".

Strategic engineering favors the notion of adequacy over that of deliberate orientation or of a desired end state; that of guidance (autonomous, intuitive, and adaptive) over that of piloting, which has a mechanistic connotation; and that of effectiveness over that of efficiency, which is both more normative and restrictive. Beyond the traditional approaches in this area, strategic engineering is based on a fluid and harmoniously disseminated operational paradigm, so as to fit within the global context or strategic landscape of the action. Strategic engineering is a methodological and logical device for conceptualization and perspective setting, including some advanced tools of an unprecedented nature. As such, it constitutes a much-needed tool for anticipation, both meticulous and comprehensive. An original "tooled approach" process, combining optimization and post-optimization, allows anticipating and remixing any recommended solution in the best way possible, on the basis of the numerous parameters of the decision-making situation. Each solution profile can then be visualized through a triptych of dashboards allowing visualization and interpretation of most of the aspects and characteristics of this situation.

Strategic engineering is rooted in the mysteries of sociopolitical activity and its situational context. As such, we can no longer be nostalgic observers of an illusory world, so often typified by the glory days of the post-war era, in continuous expansion. From now on, we must mobilize ourselves in concert to try to contain, and even overcome, the alarming specter of the chaotic, ambiguous, and unpredictable world that is emerging at the dawn of the 21st century.

The strategic engineering approach proposed in this book is deployed in three phases so as to inform transformative action. These phases correspond, respectively, to the three parts of the book:

  • - observing and discerning: contextualizing the situation and recommending a consistent set of options (Part 1);
  • - judging and arbitrating: evaluating and remixing recommendations to decide on a successful intervention (Part 2);
  • - acting and...

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