In a nutshell, the Three-Box Solution describes the framework for managing a business’s
responsibility to take action in three time horizons at once:
- 1) Executing the present core business, the Performance Engine, at peak efficiency.
- 2) Taking steps to avoid the inhibiting traps of past success.
- 3) Inventing a future built on non-linear breakthrough ideas.
The Workshop shows the distinctive skills each box requires, how the boxes interrelate, and
what it takes to balance them.
We now live in an era of almost constant change. First, new technologies continue to
emerge at an ever-more rapid pace. Second, globalization brings with it new markets, new
customers, nontraditional competitors, and new challenges. Third, the Internet has created
much greater transparency in any company’s strategy, actions, and performance. As a
result of these forces, companies find that their strategies need almost constant
redefinition—either because the old assumptions are no longer valid, or because the
previous strategy has been imitated and neutralized by competitors, or because
technological developments and globalization offer unanticipated opportunities. Rooted in
these premises, the strategic challenge for organizations becomes: How to successfully
create the future (Boxes 2 and 3) even while managing excellence in the present (Box 1)?
Specific leadership challenges include: How do we identify the market discontinuities (e.g.,
fundamental shifts in technology, customers, competitors, lifestyle/ demographics,
globalization, regulations, etc.) that could transform our industry? How do we analyse the
opportunities and risks, as a result of our understanding of market discontinuities? How can
we create new growth platforms (Box 3) with a view to exploiting the market discontinuities?
How do we selectively forget the past (Box 2)? What are our core competencies and how
can we leverage them in the growth platforms? How do we allocate resources to support
growth? What kind of organizational DNA must we have in order to anticipate and respond to
changes on a continual basis? How do we execute breakthrough strategies?