Re: Strategic/Scenario Planning LO3784

John Woods (
Tue, 21 Nov 1995 06:24:37 -0600 (CST)

Replying to LO3771 --


With regard to the points you have made here:

>Managers seem to operate based on 'rules of thumb' - and the system
>archetypes are possibly a step in this direction. But the archetypes were
>developed out of years of work with *quantitative* models, and even the
>very system dynamicists that were responsible for their development
>renounce using them as templates for diagnosis of corporate problems. The
>archetypes are great for stimulating discussion, but their use beyond that
>is minimal. To move from discussion to generating actionable knowledge to
>action requires more. What deterrents are there to the use of
>quantitative modeling in the strategy process? And how strongly do they
>consider and balance the usefulness vs. ease-of-use of such modeling.
> Mark Choudhari
> 617.253.6356
> markddc@MIT.EDU

I have these questions and observations: I did not know the source of the
archetypes was years of quantitative analysis. They seem to have an
intuitive appeal that we can understand and appreciate. They get us
focusing on change and improvement and what happens when we don't change
and improve--things get worse. They seem reasonable to me and useful,
though they may be difficult to fit onto situations in a cookie cutter
fashion, as most who have tried to create looping diagrams can attest.

Is the main use of the archetypes just to raise our awareness that human
beings operate in patterned ways that can sometimes be self-destructive
and that there may be points we can intervene with greater leverage than
in other points? Do they have any use beyond that? You seem to suggest
that they don't. Is there any tool we can use?

Quantitative modeling may be beyond the ability of most of us. Are you
suggesting that we move more toward quantitative modeling? Such models,
while allowing for more complexity, may not work that much better than
archetypes. They are complicated and following them as if they were the
correct model for developing a strategy may bring about responses from
others that the model could not have predicted.

Your post raised such questions for me. Thanks for that. Can you tell us
more about what you have in mind?

John Woods