Strategic Sensing - How Firms Create Their Future Amidst Uncertainty

86 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2011

Date Written: December 14, 2011


Strategy making is always one of the more challenging dimensions of entrepreneurship. For those in emerging or uncertain environments, the challenge is even greater. While much of theory and practice has focused on options and hedging risks, there is another path - understanding the process of emergence. By intentionally analyzing the worldview that they hold of themselves, the business environment, and the business itself, entrepreneurs can gain the upper hand in crafting winning strategy. From this understanding comes a roadmap of what must be discovered, tested and re-tested that helps the emergence process to become an intentional act of discovery, rather than reactions based on new information. This combination of alertness and active learning is the key to success in emerging environments. Few examples illustrate this more effectively than Interface, Inc., a carpet manufacturer, that successfully underwent a corporate rejuvenation effort based around the concept of environmental sustainability. Through intentionally engaging in the process, Interface was able to sense the appropriate strategies and is on its way to becoming the world’s first sustainable corporation by 2020.

Keywords: sensemaking, emergent strategy, decision making, cognitive learning, entrepreneurship

Suggested Citation

Hastings, Christopher J., Strategic Sensing - How Firms Create Their Future Amidst Uncertainty (December 14, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Christopher J. Hastings (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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