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#2—Rita McGrath: Strategic Planning Amidst Uncertainty

#2—Rita McGrath: Strategic Planning Amidst Uncertainty

In this episode of The Outthinker Podcast, Kaihan welcomes Rita McGrath, a best-selling author, a sought-after speaker, and a longtime professor at Columbia Business School. She is widely recognized as a premier expert on leading innovation and growth during times of uncertainty. She received the number one Achievement Award for Strategy from the prestigious thinker's 50 and has been consistently named one of the world's top 10 management thinkers in its biannual ranking. As a consultant to CEOs, her work has had a lasting impact on the strategy and growth programs of Fortune 500 companies worldwide. She is the author of numerous books, including The End of Competitive Advantage, Discovery Driven Growth, and her latest book, Seeing Around Corners: How to Spot Inflection Points in Business Before They Happen.

In this episode, Rita talks about her discovery-driven planning approach, which has transformed the traditional strategic planning approaches companies used to design strategies and gave birth to the now popular agile and lean startup approaches. She's going to give us some practical tips to get smarter at predicting and preparing for the inflection points that will inevitably disrupt your industry.


“I realized that I was falling victim to something I warn people about. Just because that's the future you prefer, does not mean that's the only future you should be preparing for.”

-Rita McGrath


Episode Timeline:

00:24 – Introducing Rita McGrath + The topic of today’s episode

02:22 – If you really know Rita, you know that…

02:42 – Rita’s definition of strategy

04:08 – What initially got you interested in strategy?

06:22 – Explaining levels of experimentation, trial, and learning as part of a strategy

07:46 – Explaining the discovery-driven planning

10:08 – Where would a strategist start?

12:50 – Does the balance of portfolio change with greater or lower degrees of uncertainty?

14:02 – Explaining the Use of the Term Arena instead of Industry

16:06 – Talking about Her Book, Seeing Around Corners and Strategic Inflection Points

19:12 – What is something that you've changed your mind about?

20:05 – Opportunity of a New Social Contract, Applying Models and Seeing Your Corners


Resources Mentioned:

  • Article: What if you changed the world and nobody noticed:

  • Find more of Rita’s books:

  • Connect with Rita McGrath on LinkedIn:

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The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.