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Visual Strategizing : The Systematic Use of Visualization in the Strategic Planning Process

Martin J. Eppler & K. Platts

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abstract This article highlights the benefits and risks of using real-time, interactive visual representations in the business strategy process. Considering all strategy-making stages – analysis, planning, development and implementation - the authors show how visualizations can yield cognitive, social and emotional benefits. The reader is led through five case studies in which the authors have been involved as facilitator/observers, illustrating different visualization genres and methods, including the Strategy chart, the Ruler Interface, the Connectance Network, the Synergy Map and the Balanced Scorecard tree. They underline the importance of matching the chosen visualization method carefully with the relevant strategy stage, and rehearse the challenges involved in a variety of practises. They show how visualizations can help to reduce groupthink, avoid information overload, surface multiple views and span different phases of the strategy process. They recommend that visualizations are leveraged by being continually refined and revised, and by the use of multiple techniques where appropriate. The key lesson is that visualization is more than an attractive way of communicating and monitoring strategic planning outcomes, but can be a powerful process enabler in making strategizing a joint managerial practice – but success depends, above all, of skilled and experienced facilitation.
   
type journal paper
   
keywords
   
language English
kind of paper journal article
date of appearance 1-2-2009
journal Long Range Planning LRP
publisher xxx
number of issue 2
page(s) 42-74
review double-blind review
   
citation Eppler, M. J., & Platts, K. (2009). Visual Strategizing: The Systematic Use of Visualization in the Strategic Planning Process. Long Range Planning LRP(2), 42-74.